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ChmsTian Classics ErheneaL Liknany 


Ante-Nicene Fathers 
Volume 3^ 


Philip Schaff 


ChmsTian Classics 




& Erheneal Libnany 


ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian 


Author(s): Tertullian (c. 160-c. 230) 

Schaff, Philip (1819-1893) (Editor) 

Menzies, Allan (1845-1916) (Editor) 

Publisher: Grand Rapids, Ml: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Description: Originally printed in 1885, the ten-volume set, Ante-Nicene 

Fathers, brings together the work of early Christian thinkers. 
In particular, it brings together the writings of the early Church 
fathers prior to the fourth century Nicene Creed. These 
volumes are noteworthy for their inclusion of entire texts, and 
not simply fragments or excerpts from these great writings. 
The translations are fairly literal, providing both readers and 
scholars with a good approximation of the originals. This 
particular volume focuses on the work of Tertullian, who is 
often called the "father of Latin Christianity." It brings together 
three of his most important works. These writings were 
heavily influential on the early Church, and for good reason, 
as they are inspirational and encouraging. These volumes 
also come with many useful notes, providing the reader with 
new levels of understanding. Overall, Ante-Nicene Fathers, 
or any part of it, is a welcome addition to one's reading list. 
Tim Perrine 
CCEL Staff Writer 


Subjects: Christianity 

Early Christian Literature. Fathers of the Church, etc. 


i 


Contents 


Title Page. 1 

Second Title Page. 2 

Preface. 3 

Apologetic. 4 

Title Page. 4 

Introductory Note. 5 

Apology. 24 

Chapter I. 24 

Chapter II. 27 

Chapter III. 30 

Chapter IV. 32 

Chapter V. 34 

Chapter VI. 35 

Chapter VII. 37 

Chapter VIII. 39 

Chapter IX. 40 

Chapter X. 43 

Chapter XI. 45 

Chapter XII. 47 

Chapter XIII. 48 

Chapter XIV. 50 

Chapter XV. 51 

Chapter XVI. 53 

Chapter XVII. 55 

Chapter XVIII. 56 

Chapter XIX. 58 

ii 



Chapter XX. 

59 

Chapter XXL 

60 

Chapter XXII. 

64 

Chapter XXIII. 

66 

Chapter XXIV. 

69 

Chapter XXV. 

71 

Chapter XXVI. 

73 

Chapter XXVII. 

74 

Chapter XXVIII. 

75 

Chapter XXIX. 

76 

Chapter XXX. 

77 

Chapter XXXI. 

79 

Chapter XXXII. 

80 

Chapter XXXIII. 

81 

Chapter XXXIV. 

82 

Chapter XXXV. 

83 

Chapter XXXVI. 

85 

Chapter XXXVII. 

86 

Chapter XXXVIII. 

88 

Chapter XXXIX. 

89 

Chapter XL. 

92 

Chapter XLI. 

94 

Chapter XLII. 

95 

Chapter XLIII. 

97 

Chapter XLIV. 

98 

Chapter XLV. 

99 

Chapter XLVI. 

100 

Chapter XLVII. 

102 

Chapter XLVIII. 

104 

Chapter XLIX. 

107 

Chapter L. 

108 

Elucidations. 

110 


iii 



On Idolatry. 117 

Wide Scope of the Word Idolatry. 117 

Idolatry in Its More Limited Sense. Its Copiousness. 119 

Idolatry: Origin and Meaning of the Name. 120 

Idols Not to Be Made, Much Less Worshipped. Idols and Idol-Makers in the 121 
Same Category. 

Sundry Objections or Excuses Dealt with. 123 

Idolatry Condemned by Baptism. To Make an Idol Is, in Fact, to Worship It. 125 

Grief of the Faithful at the Admission of Idol-Makers into the Church; Nay, 126 

Even into the Ministry. 

Other Arts Made Subservient to Idolatry. Lawful Means of Gaining a Livelihood 127 
Abundant. 

Professions of Some Kinds Allied to Idolatry. Of Astrology in Particular. 129 

Of Schoolmasters and Their Difficulties. 131 

Connection Between Covetousness and Idolatry. Certain Trades, However 133 
Gainful, to Be Avoided. 

Further Answers to the Plea, How Am I to Live? 135 

Of the Observance of Days Connected with Idolatry. 137 

Of Blasphemy. One of St. Paul's Sayings. 139 

Concerning Festivals in Honour of Emperors, Victories, and the Like. Examples 141 

of the Three Children and Daniel. 

Concerning Private Festivals. 143 

The Cases of Servants and Other Officials. What Offices a Christian Man May 144 
Hold. 

Dress as Connected with Idolatry. 145 

Concerning Military Service. 148 

Concerning Idolatry in Words. 149 

Of Silent Acquiescence in Heathen Formularies. 150 

Of Accepting Blessing in the Name of Idols. 151 

Written Contracts in the Name of Idols. Tacit Consent. 152 

General Conclusion. 154 

Elucidations. 155 

The Shows, or De Spectaculis. 157 

iv 



157 


Chapter I. 

Chapter II. 159 

Chapter III. 161 

Chapter IV. 162 

Chapter V. 163 

Chapter VI. 164 

Chapter VII. 165 

Chapter VIII. 166 

Chapter IX. 168 

Chapter X. 169 

Chapter XI. 171 

Chapter XII. 172 

Chapter XIII. 173 

Chapter XIV. 174 

Chapter XV. 175 

Chapter XVI. 176 

Chapter XVII. 177 

Chapter XVIII. 178 

Chapter XIX. 179 

Chapter XX. 180 

Chapter XXI. 181 

Chapter XXII. 182 

Chapter XXIII. 183 

Chapter XXIV. 184 

Chapter XXV. 185 

Chapter XXVI. 186 

Chapter XXVII. 187 

Chapter XXVIII. 188 

Chapter XXIX. 189 

Chapter XXX. 190 

The Chaplet, or De Corona. 192 

Chapter I. 192 


v 



Chapter II. 194 

Chapter III. 195 

Chapter IV. 196 

Chapter V. 198 

Chapter VI. 199 

Chapter VII. 200 

Chapter VIII. 202 

Chapter IX. 203 

Chapter X. 204 

Chapter XI. 206 

Chapter XII. 208 

Chapter XIII. 209 

Chapter XIV. 211 

Chapter XV. 212 

Elucidations. 213 

To Scapula. 215 

Chapter I. 215 

Chapter II. 216 

Chapter III. 218 

Chapter IV. 219 

Chapter V. 221 

Elucidations. 222 

Ad Nationes. 223 

Book I 223 

The Hatred Felt by the Heathen Against the Christians is Unjust, Because 223 

Based on Culpable Ignorance. 

The Heathen Perverted Judgment in the Trial of Christians. They Would Be 225 
More Consistent If They Dispensed with All Form of Trial. Tertullian Urges 
This with Much Indignation. 

The Great Offence in the Christians Lies in Their Very Name. The Name 227 

Vindicated. 

The Truth Hated in the Christians; So in Measure Was It, of Old, in Socrates. 229 
The Virtues of the Christians. 

vi 



The Inconsistent Life of Any False Christian No More Condemns True 232 

Disciples of Christ, Than a Passing Cloud Obscures a Summer Sky. 

The Innocence of the Christians Not Compromised by the Iniquitous Laws 234 
Which Were Made Against Them. 

The Christians Defamed. A Sarcastic Description of Fame; Its Deception and 236 
Atrocious Slanders of the Christians Lengthily Described. 

The Calumny Against the Christians Illustrated in the Discovery of 241 

Psammetichus. Refutation of the Story. 

The Christians are Not the Cause of Public Calamities: There Were Such 243 
Troubles Before Christianity. 

The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them 245 
Often Displayed by Heathen Official Persons. Homer Made the Gods 
Contemptible. 

The Absurd Cavil of the Ass's Head Disposed of. 252 

The Charge of Worshipping a Cross. The Heathens Themselves Made Much 253 
of Crosses in Sacred Things; Nay, Their Very Idols Were Formed on a Crucial 
Frame. 

The Charge of Worshipping the Sun Met by a Retort. 256 

The Vile Calumny About Onocoetes Retorted on the Heathen by Tertullian. 257 

The Charge of Infanticide Retorted on the Heathen. 258 

Other Charges Repelled by the Same Method. The Story of the Noble Roman 260 
Youth and His Parents. 


The Christian Refusal to Swear by the Genius of Caesar. Flippancy and 263 

Irreverence Retorted on the Heathen. 

Christians Charged with an Obstinate Contempt of Death. Instances of the 265 
Same are Found Amongst the Heathen. 

If Christians and the Heathen Thus Resemble Each Other, There is Great 267 
Difference in the Grounds and Nature of Their Apparently Similar Conduct. 

Truth and Reality Pertain to Christians Alone. The Heathen Counselled to 268 
Examine and Embrace It. 

Book II 270 


The Heathen Gods from Heathen Authorities. Varro Has Written a Work on 270 

the Subject. His Threefold Classification. The Changeable Character of that 
Which Ought to Be Fixed and Certain. 

Philosophers Had Not Succeeded in Discovering God. The Uncertainty and 273 
Confusion of Their Speculations. 

vii 



The Physical Philosophers Maintained the Divinity of the Elements; The 275 
Absurdity of the Tenet Exposed. 

Wrong Derivation of the Word Qeoq The Name Indicative of the True Deity. 278 

God Without Shape and Immaterial. Anecdote of Thales. 

The Physical Theory Continued. Further Reasons Advanced Against the 280 
Divinity of the Elements. 

The Changes of the Heavenly Bodies, Proof that They are Not Divine. 283 

Transition from the Physical to the Mythic Class of Gods. 

The Gods of the Mythic Class. The Poets a Very Poor Authority in Such 284 
Matters. Homer and the Mythic Poets. Why Irreligious. 

The Gods of the Different Nations. Varro's Gentile Class. Their Inferiority. 287 
A Good Deal of This Perverse Theology Taken from Scripture. Serapis a 
Perversion of Joseph. 


The Power of Rome. Romanized Aspect of All the Heathen Mythology. Varro's 289 

Threefold Distribution Criticised. Roman Heroes (/Eneas Included,) 

Unfavourably Reviewed. 

A Disgraceful Feature of the Roman Mythology. It Honours Such Infamous 292 
Characters as Larentina. 

The Romans Provided Gods for Birth, Nay, Even Before Birth, to Death. Much 294 

Indelicacy in This System. 

The Original Deities Were Human--With Some Very Questionable 296 

Characteristics. Saturn or Time Was Human. Inconsistencies of Opinion 
About Him. 

The Gods Human at First. Who Had the Authority to Make Them Divine? 300 
Jupiter Not Only Human, But Immoral. 

Gods, Those Which Were Confessedly Elevated to the Divine Condition, 303 
What Pre-Eminent Right Had They to Such Honour? Hercules an Inferior 
Character. 

The Constellations and the Genii Very Indifferent Gods. The Roman Monopoly 306 
of Gods Unsatisfactory. Other Nations Require Deities Quite as Much. 

Inventors of Useful Arts Unworthy of Deification. They Would Be the First 308 
to Acknowledge a Creator. The Arts Changeable from Time to Time, and 
Some Become Obsolete. 

Conclusion, the Romans Owe Not Their Imperial Power to Their Gods. The 309 
Great God Alone Dispenses Kingdoms, He is the God of the Christians. 

Appendix: A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the Heathen. 312 

viii 



Elucidation. 


316 


An Answer to the J ews . 317 

Occasion of Writing. Relative Position of Jews and Gentiles Illustrated. 317 

The Law Anterior to Moses. 319 

Of Circumcision and the Supercession of the Old Law. 322 

Of the Observance of the Sabbath. 325 

Of Sacrifices. 327 

Of the Abolition and the Abolisher of the Old Law. 329 

The Question Whether Christ Be Come Taken Up. 330 

Of the Times of Christ's Birth and Passion, and of Jerusalem's Destruction. 332 

Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 337 

Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions and 345 

Adumbrations. 

further Proofs, from Ezekiel. Summary of the Prophetic Argument Thus Par. 351 

further Proofs from the Calling of the Gentiles. 354 

Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 355 

Conclusion. Clue to the Error of the Jews. 362 

The Soul's Testimony. 366 

Chapter I. 366 

Chapter II. 368 

Chapter III. 370 

Chapter IV. 371 

Chapter V. 373 

Chapter VI. 375 

Elucidations. 376 

A Treatise on the Soul. 377 

It is Not to the Philosophers that We Resort for Information About the Soul 377 
But to God. 

The Christian Has Sure and Simple Knowledge Concerning the Subject Before 380 
Us. 

The Soul's Origin Defined Out of the Simple Words of Scripture. 383 

In Opposition to Plato, the Soul Was Created and Originated at Birth. 385 

ix 



Probable View of the Stoics, that the Soul Has a Corporeal Nature. 386 

The Arguments of the Platonists for the Soul's Incorporeality, Opposed, Perhaps 388 

Frivolously. 

The Soul's Corporeality Demonstrated Out of the Gospels. 391 

Other Platonist Arguments Considered. 392 

Particulars of the Alleged Communication to a Montanist Sister. 394 

The Simple Nature of the Soul is Asserted with Plato. The Identity of Spirit and 397 
Soul. 

Spirit--A Term Expressive of an Operation of the Soul, Not of Its Nature. To 400 
Be Carefully Distinguished from the Spirit of God. 

Difference Between the Mind and the Soul, and the Relation Between Them. 402 

The Soul's Supremacy. 404 

The Soul Variously Divided by the Philosophers; This Division is Not a Material 405 
Dissection. 

The Soul's Vitality and Intelligence. Its Character and Seat in Man. 407 

The Soul's Parts. Elements of the Rational Soul. 409 

The Fidelity of the Senses, Impugned by Plato, Vindicated by Christ Himself. 411 

Plato Suggested Certain Errors to the Gnostics. Functions of the Soul. 415 

The Intellect Coeval with the Soul in the Human Being. An Example from 419 

Aristotle Converted into Evidence Favourable to These Views. 

The Soul, as to Its Nature Uniform, But Its Faculties Variously Developed. 422 
Varieties Only Accidental. 

As Free-Will Actuates an Individual So May His Character Change. 424 

Recapitulation. Definition of the Soul. 426 

The Opinions of Sundry Heretics Which Originate Ultimately with Plato. 427 

Plato's Inconsistency. He Supposes the Soul Self- Existent, Yet Capable of 428 

Forgetting What Passed in a Previous State. 

Tertullian Refutes, Physiologically, the Notion that the Soul is Introduced After 43 1 
Birth. 

Scripture Alone Offers Clear Knowledge on the Questions We Have Been 434 

Controverting. 

Soul and Body Conceived, Formed and Perfected in Element Simultaneously. 436 
The Pythagorean Doctrine of Transmigration Sketched and Censured. 438 


x 



The Pythagorean Doctrine Refuted by Its Own First Principle, that Living Men 440 
are Formed from the Dead. 

Further Refutation of the Pythagorean Theory. The State of Contemporary 441 
Civilisation. 

Further Exposure of Transmigration, Its Inextricable Embarrassment. 443 

Empedocles Increased the Absurdity of Pythagoras by Developing the 445 

Posthumous Change of Men into Various Animals. 

The Judicial Retribution of These Migrations Refuted with Raillery. 448 

These Vagaries Stimulated Some Profane Corruptions of Christianity. The 451 
Profanity of Simon Magus Condemned. 

The Opinions of Carpocrates, Another Offset from the Pythagorean Dogmas, 453 
Stated and Confuted. 

The Main Points of Our Author's Subject. On the Sexes of the Human Race. 456 

On the F ormation and State of the Embryo . Its Relation with the Subj ect of This 457 

Treatise. 

On the Growth of the Soul. Its Maturity Coincident with the Maturity of the 459 
Flesh in Man. 

The Evil Spirit Has Marred the Purity of the Soul from the Very Birth. 461 

The Body of Man Only Ancillary to the Soul in the Commission of Evil. 462 

Notwithstanding the Depravity of Man's Soul by Original Sin, There is Yet Left 463 
a Basis Whereon Divine Grace Can Work for Its Recovery by Spiritual 
Regeneration. 

Sleep, the Mirror of Death, as Introductory to the Consideration of Death. 464 

Sleep a Natural Function as Shown by Other Considerations, and by the 465 

Testimony of Scripture. 

The Story of Hermotimus, and the Sleeplessness of the Emperor Nero. No 468 
Separation of the Soul from the Body Until Death. 

Dreams, an Incidental Effect of the Soul's Activity. Ecstasy. 469 

Diversity of Dreams and Visions. Epicurus Thought Lightly of Them, Though 471 
Generally Most Highly Valued. Instances of Dreams. 

Dreams Variously Classified. Some are God-Sent, as the Dreams of 474 

Nebuchadnezzar; Others Simply Products of Nature. 

Causes and Circumstances of Dreams. What Best Contributes to Efficient 475 

Dreaming. 

No Soul Naturally Exempt from Dreams. 477 


xi 



The Absurd Opinion of Epicurus and the Profane Conceits of the Heretic 478 

Menander on Death, Even Enoch and Elijah Reserved for Death. 

Death Entirely Separates the Soul from the Body. 480 

All Kinds of Death a Violence to Nature, Arising from Sin.--Sin an Intrusion 482 
Upon Nature as God Created It. 

The Entire Soul Being Indivisible Remains to the Last Act of Vitality; Never 483 
Partially or Fractionally Withdrawn from the Body. 


Whither Does the Soul Retire When It Quits the Body? Opinions of Philosophers 485 
All More or Less Absurd. The Hades of Plato. 

The Christian Idea of the Position of Hades; The Blessedness of Paradise 486 

Immediately After Death. The Privilege of the Martyrs. 

Refutation of the Homeric View of the Soul's Detention from Hades Owing to 488 

the Body's Being Unburied. That Souls Prematurely Separated from the Body 


Had to Wait for Admission into Hades Also Refuted. 

Magic and Sorcery Only Apparent in Their Effects. God Alone Can Raise the 491 
Dead. 

Conclusion. Points Postponed. All Souls are Kept in Hades Until the 494 

Resurrection, Anticipating Their Ultimate Misery or Bliss. 

Anti-Marcion. 497 

Title Page. 497 

Introduction, by the American Editor. 498 

The Prescription Against Heretics. 502 


Introductory. Heresies Must Exist, and Even Abound; They are a Probation to 502 
Faith. 

Analogy Between Fevers and Heresies. Heresies Not to Be Wondered At: Their 503 
Strength Derived from Weakness of Men's Faith. They Have Not the Truth. 

Simile of Pugilists and Gladiators in Illustration. 

Weak People Fall an Easy Prey to Heresy, Which Derives Strength from the 504 
General Frailty of Mankind. Eminent Men Have Fallen from Faith; Saul, David, 
Solomon. The Constancy of Christ. 

Warnings Against Heresy Given Us in the New Testament. Sundry Passages 506 
Adduced. These Imply the Possibility of Falling into Heresy. 

Heresy, as Well as Schism and Dissension, Disapproved by St. Paul, Who Speaks 507 

of the Necessity of Heresies, Not as a Good, But, by the Will of God, Salutary 
Trials for Training and Approving the Faith of Christians. 

xii 



Heretics are Self-Condemned. Heresy is Self-Will, Whilst Faith is Submission 508 
of Our Will to the Divine Authority. The Heresy of Apelles. 

Pagan Philosophy the Parent of Heresies. The Connection Between Deflections 509 
from Christian Faith and the Old Systems of Pagan Philosophy. 

Christ's Word, Seek, and Ye Shall Find, No Warrant for Heretical Deviations 511 
from the Faith. All Christ's Words to the Jews are for Us, Not Indeed as Specific 
Commands, But as Principles to Be Applied. 

The Research After Definite Truth Enjoined on Us. When We Have Discovered 513 

This, We Should Be Content. 

One Has Succeeded in Finding Definite Truth, When He Believes. Heretical 514 
Wits are Always Offering Many Things for Vain Discussion, But We are Not 
to Be Always Seeking. 

After We Have Believed, Search Should Cease; Otherwise It Must End in a 516 
Denial of What We Have Believed. No Other Object Proposed for Our Faith. 

A Proper Seeking After Divine Knowledge, Which Will Never Be Out of Place 517 
or Excessive, is Always Within the Rule of Faith. 

Summary of the Creed, or Rule of Faith. No Questions Ever Raised About It by 518 

Believers. Heretics Encourage and Perpetuate Thought Independent of Christ's 
Teaching. 

Curiosity Ought Not Range Beyond the Rule of Faith. Restless Curiosity, the 519 
Feature of Heresy. 

Heretics Not to Be Allowed to Argue Out of the Scriptures. The Scriptures, in 521 
Fact, Do Not Belong to Them. 

Apostolic Sanction to This Exclusion of Heretics from the Use of the Scriptures. 522 

Heretics, According to the Apostle, are Not to Be Disputed With, But to Be 
Admonished. 

Heretics, in Fact, Do Not Use, But Only Abuse, Scripture. No Common Ground 523 
Between Them and You. 

Great Evil Ensues to the Weak in Faith, from Any Discussion Out of the 524 

Scriptures. Conviction Never Comes to the Heretic from Such a Process. 

Appeal, in Discussion of Heresy, Lies Not to the Scriptures. The Scriptures 525 
Belong Only to Those Who Have the Rule of Faith. 

Christ First Delivered the Faith. The Apostles Spread It; They Founded Churches 526 

as the Depositories Thereof. That Faith, Therefore, is Apostolic, Which 
Descended from the Apostles, Through Apostolic Churches. 


xiii 



All Doctrine True Which Comes Through the Church from the Apostles, Who 528 
Were Taught by God Through Christ. All Opinion Which Has No Such Divine 
Origin and Apostolic Tradition to Show, is Ipso Facto False. 

Attempt to Invalidate This Rule of Faith Rebutted. The Apostles Safe 529 

Transmitters of the Truth. Sufficiently Taught at First, and Faithful in the 
Transmission. 

The Apostles Not Ignorant. The Heretical Pretence of St. Peter's Imperfection 531 
Because He Was Rebuked by St. Paul. St. Peter Not Rebuked for Error in 
Teaching. 

St. Peter's Further Vindication. St. Paul Not Superior to St. Peter in Teaching. 533 
Nothing Imparted to the Former in the Third Heaven Enabled Him to Add to 
the Faith. Heretics Boast as If Favoured with Some of the Secrets Imparted to 
Him. 

The Apostles Did Not Keep Back Any of the Deposit of Doctrine Which Christ 534 
Had Entrusted to Them. St. Paul Openly Committed His Whole Doctrine to 
Timothy. 

The Apostles Did in All Cases Teach the Whole Truth to the Whole Church. 536 
No Reservation, Nor Partial Communication to Favourite Friends. 

Granted that the Apostles Transmitted the Whole Doctrine of Truth, May Not 538 
the Churches Have Been Unfaithful in Handing It On? Inconceivable that This 
Can Have Been the Case. 

The One Tradition of the Faith, Which is Substantially Alike in the Churches 539 
Everywhere, a Good Proof that the Transmission Has Been True and Honest 
in the Main. 

The Truth Not Indebted to the Care of the Heretics; It Had Free Course Before 540 
They Appeared. Priority of the Church's Doctrine a Mark of Its Truth. 

Comparative Lateness of Heresies. Marcion's Heresy. Some Personal Facts About 541 

Him. The Heresy of Apelles. Character of This Man; Philumene; Valentinus; 
Nigidius, and Hermogenes. 

Truth First, Falsehood Afterwards, as Its Perversion. Christ's Parable Puts the 544 
Sowing of the Good Seed Before the Useless Tares. 

None of the Heretics Claim Succession from the Apostles. New Churches Still 545 
Apostolic, Because Their Faith is that Which the Apostles Taught and Handed 
Down. The Heretics Challenged to Show Any Apostolic Credentials. 

Present Heresies (Seedlings of the Tares Noted by the Sacred Writers) Already 547 

Condemned in Scripture. This Descent of Later Heresy from the Earlier Traced 
in Several Instances. 


xiv 



No Early Controversy Respecting the Divine Creator; No Second God Introduced 549 

at First. Heresies Condemned Alike by the Sentence and the Silence of Holy 
Scripture. 

Let Heretics Maintain Their Claims by a Definite and Intelligible Evidence. This 551 
the Only Method of Solving Their Questions. Catholics Appeal Always to 
Evidence Traceable to Apostolic Sources. 

The Apostolic Churches the Voice of the Apostles. Let the Heretics Examine 552 
Their Apostolic Claims, in Each Case, Indisputable. The Church of Rome Doubly 
Apostolic; Its Early Eminence and Excellence. Heresy, as Perverting the Truth, 
is Connected Therewith. 

Heretics Not Being Christians, But Rather Perverters of Christ's Teaching, May 554 

Not Claim the Christian Scriptures. These are a Deposit, Committed to and 
Carefully Kept by the Church. 

Harmony of the Church and the Scriptures. Heretics Have Tampered with the 555 
Scriptures, and Mutilated, and Altered Them. Catholics Never Change the 
Scriptures, Which Always Testily for Them. 

What St. Paul Calls Spiritual Wickednesses Displayed by Pagan Authors, and 557 
by Heretics, in No Dissimilar Manner. Holy Scripture Especially Liable to 
Heretical Manipulation. Affords Material for Heresies, Just as Virgil Has Been 
the Groundwork of Literary Plagiarisms, Different in Purport from the Original. 

No Difference in the Spirit of Idolatry and of Heresy. In the Rites of Idolatry, 558 

Satan Imitated and Distorted the Divine Institutions of the Older Scriptures. 

The Christian Scriptures Corrupted by Him in the Perversions of the Various 
Heretics. 

The Conduct of Heretics: Its Frivolity, Worldliness, and Irregularity. The 560 

Notorious Wantonness of Their Women. 

Heretics Work to Pull Down and to Destroy, Not to Edify and Elevate. Heretics 561 
Do Not Adhere Even to Their Own Traditions, But Harbour Dissent Even from 
Their Own Founders. 

Loose Company Preferred by Heretics. Ungodliness the Effect of Their Teaching 562 

the Very Opposite of Catholic Truth, Which Promotes the Fear of God, Both 
in Religious Ordinances and Practical Life. 

Heresy Lowers Respect for Christ, and Destroys All Fear of His Great Judgment. 563 

The Tendency of Heretical Teaching on This Solemn Article of the Faith. The 
Present Treatise an Introduction to Certain Other Anti-Heretical Works of Our 
Author. 

Elucidations. 565 


xv 



The Five Books Against Marcion. 569 

Introductory Notes. 569 

Book I. Wherein is described the god of Marcion. He is shown to be utterly 573 
wanting in all the attributes of the true God. 

Preface. Reason for a New Work. Pontus Lends Its Rough Character to the 573 
Heretic Marcion, a Native. His Heresy Characterized in a Brief Invective. 


Marcion, Aided by Cerdon, T eaches a Duality of Gods; How He Constructed 576 
This Heresy of an Evil and a Good God. 

The Unity of God. He is the Supreme Being, and There Cannot Be a Second 578 
Supreme. 

Defence of the Divine Unity Against Objection. No Analogy Between Human 580 
Powers and God's Sovereignty. The Objection Otherwise Untenable, for Why 
Stop at Two Gods? 

The Dual Principle Falls to the Ground; Plurality of Gods, of Whatever 582 

Number, More Consistent. Absurdity and Injury to Piety Resulting from 
Marcion's Duality. 

Marcion Untrue to His Theory. He Pretends that His Gods are Equal, But He 584 
Really Makes Them Diverse. Then, Allowing Their Divinity, Denies This 
Diversity. 

Other Beings Besides God are in Scripture Called God. This Objection 586 

Frivolous, for It is Not a Question of Names. The Divine Essence is the Thing 
at Issue. Heresy, in Its General Terms, Thus Far Treated. 

Specific Points. The Novelty of Marcion's God Fatal to His Pretensions. God 588 
is from Everlasting, He Cannot Be in Any Wise New. 

Marcion's Gnostic Pretensions Vain, for the True God is Neither Unknown 589 
Nor Uncertain. The Creator, Whom He Owns to Be God, Alone Supplies an 
Induction, by Which to Judge of the True God. 

The Creator Was Known as the True God from the First by His Creation. 592 
Acknowledged by the Soul and Conscience of Man Before He Was Revealed 
by Moses. 

The Evidence for God External to Him; But the External Creation Which 593 
Yields This Evidence is Really Not Extraneous, for All Things are God's. 

Marcion's God, Having Nothing to Show for Himself, No God at All. Marcion's 
Scheme Absurdly Defective, Not Furnishing Evidence for His New God's 
Existence, Which Should at Least Be Able to Compete with the Full Evidence 
of the Creator. 


xvi 



596 


Impossibility of Acknowledging God Without This External Evidence Of His 
Existence. Marcion's Rejection of Such Evidence for His God Savours of 
Impudence and Malignity. 

The Marcionites Depreciate the Creation, Which, However, is a Worthy 598 
Witness of God. This Worthiness Illustrated by References to the Heathen 
Philosophers, Who Were Apt to Invest the Several Parts of Creation with 
Divine Attributes. 

All Portions of Creation Attest the Excellence of the Creator, Whom Marcion 600 
Vilifies. His Inconsistency Herein Exposed. Marcion's Own God Did Not 
Hesitate to Use the Creator's Works in Instituting His Own Religion. 

The Lateness of the Revelation of Marcion's God. The Question of the Place 602 

Occupied by the Rival Deities. Instead of Two Gods, Marcion Really (Although, 
as It Would Seem, Unconsciously) Had Nine Gods in His System. 

Marcion Assumes the Existence of Two Gods from the Antithesis Between 604 
Things Visible and Things Invisible. This Antithetical Principle in Fact 
Characteristic of the Works of the Creator, the One God— Maker of All Things 
Visible and Invisible. 

Not Enough, as the Marcionites Pretend, that the Supreme God Should Rescue 606 
Man; He Must Also Have Created Him. The Existence of God Proved by His 
Creation, a Prior Consideration to His Character. 

Notwithstanding Their Conceits, the God of the Marcionites Fails in the 608 
Vouchers Both of Created Evidence and of Adequate Revelation. 

Jesus Christ, the Revealer of the Creator, Could Not Be the Same as Marcion's 610 
God, Who Was Only Made Known by the Heretic Some CXV. Years After 
Christ, and That, Too, on a Principle Utterly Unsuited to the Teaching of 
Jesus Christ, I.e., the Opposition Between the Law and the Gospels. 

Marcion, Justifying His Antithesis Between the Law and the Gospel by the 612 
Contention of St. Paul with St. Peter, Shown to Have Mistaken St. Paul's 
Position and Argument. Marcion's Doctrine Confuted Out of St. Paul's 
Teaching, Which Agrees Wholly with the Creator's Decrees. 

St. Paul Preached No New God, When He Announced the Repeal of Some of 614 
God's Ancient Ordinances. Never Any Hesitation About Belief in the Creator, 
as the God Whom Christ Revealed, Until Marcion's Heresy. 

God's Attribute of Goodness Considered as Natural; The God of Marcion 616 

Found Wanting Herein. It Came Not to Man's Rescue When First Wanted. 

God's Attribute of Goodness Considered as Rational. Marcion's God Defective 619 
Here Also; His Goodness Irrational and Misapplied. 


XVII 



The Goodness of Marcion's God Only Imperfectly Manifested; It Saves But 622 
Few, and the Souls Merely of These. Marcion's Contempt of the Body Absurd. 

God is Not a Being of Simple Goodness; Other Attributes Belong to Him. 625 
Marcion Shows Inconsistency in the Portraiture of His Simply Good and 
Emotionless God. 

In the Attribute of Justice, Marcion's God is Hopelessly Weak and Ungodlike. 627 

He Dislikes Evil, But Does Not Punish Its Perpetration. 

Dangerous Effects to Religion and Morality of the Doctrine of So Weak a 629 

God. 

This Perverse Doctrine Deprives Baptism of All Its Grace. If Marcion Be Right, 631 

the Sacrament Would Confer No Remission of Sins, No Regeneration, No 
Gift of the Spirit. 

Marcion Forbids Marriage. Tertullian Eloquently Defends It as Holy, and 633 
Carefully Discriminates Between Marcion's Doctrine and His Own Montanism. 

Book II. Wherein Tertullian shows that the creator, or demiurge, whom Marcion 636 

calumniated, is the true and good God. 

The Methods of Marcion's Argument Incorrect and Absurd. The Proper 636 
Course of the Argument. 

The True Doctrine of God the Creator. The Heretics Pretended to a Knowledge 638 
of the Divine Being, Opposed to and Subversive of Revelation. God's Nature 
and Ways Past Human Discovery. Adam's Heresy. 

God Known by His Works. His Goodness Shown in His Creative Energy; 641 
But Everlasting in Its Nature; Inherent in God, Previous to All Exhibition of 
It. The First Stage of This Goodness Prior to Man. 

The Next Stage Occurs in the Creation of Man by the Eternal Word. Spiritual 643 
as Well as Physical Gifts to Man. The Blessings of Man's Free-Will. 

Marcion's Cavils Considered. His Objection Refuted, I.e., Man's Fall Showed 646 
Failure in God. The Perfection of Man's Being Lay in His Liberty, Which God 
Purposely Bestowed on Him. The Fall Imputable to Man's Own Choice. 

This Liberty Vindicated in Respect of Its Original Creation; Suitable Also for 648 
Exhibiting the Goodness and the Purpose of God. Reward and Punishment 
Impossible If Man Were Good or Evil Through Necessity and Not Choice. 

If God Had Anyhow Checked Man's Liberty, Marcion Would Have Been 651 

Ready with Another and Opposite Cavil. Man's Fall Foreseen by God. Provision 
Made for It Remedially and Consistently with His Truth and Goodness. 


xviii 



Man, Endued with Liberty, Superior to the Angels, Overcomes Even the Angel 653 
Which Lured Him to His Fall, When Repentant and Resuming Obedience to 
God. 

Another Cavil Answered, I.e., the Fall Imputable to God, Because Man's Soul 654 
is a Portion of the Spiritual Essence of the Creator. The Divine Afflatus Not 
in Fault in the Sin of Man, But the Human Will Which Was Additional to It. 

Another Cavil Met, I.e., the Devil Who Instigated Man to Sin Himself the 657 
Creature of God. Nay, the Primeval Cherub Only Was God's Work. The 
Devilish Nature Superadded by Wilfulness. In Man's Recovery the Devil is 
Vanquished in a Conflict on His Own Ground. 

If, After Man's Sin, God Exercised His Attribute of Justice and Judgment, This 659 
Was Compatible with His Goodness, and Enhances the True Idea of the 
Perfection of God's Character. 

The Attributes of Goodness and Justice Should Not Be Separated. They are 661 
Compatible in the True God. The Function of Justice in the Divine Being 
Described. 

Further Description of the Divine Justice; Since the Fall of Man It Has 662 

Regulated the Divine Goodness. God's Claims on Our Love and Our Fear 
Reconciled. 

Evil of Two Kinds, Penal and Criminal. It is Not of the Latter Sort that God 664 
is the Author, But Only of the Former, Which are Penal, and Included in His 
Justice. 

The Severity of God Compatible with Reason and Justice. When Inflicted, 666 
Not Meant to Be Arbitrary, But Remedial. 

To the Severity of God There Belong Accessory Qualities, Compatible with 667 
Justice. If Human Passions are Predicated of God, They Must Not Be Measured 
on the Scale of Human Imperfection. 

Trace God's Government in History and in His Precepts, and You Will Find 670 
It Full of His Goodness. 

Some of God's Laws Defended as Good, Which the Marcionites Impeached, 672 
Such as the Lex Talionis. Useful Purposes in a Social and Moral Point of View 
of This, and Sundry Other Enactments. 

The Minute Prescriptions of the Law Meant to Keep the People Dependent 674 
on God. The Prophets Sent by God in Pursuance of His Goodness. Many 
Beautiful Passages from Them Quoted in Illustration of This Attribute. 

The Marcionites Charged God with Having Instigated the Hebrews to Spoil 676 
the Egyptians. Defence of the Divine Dispensation in that Matter. 


xix 



The Law of the Sabbath-Day Explained. The Eight Days' Procession Around 678 
Jericho. The Gathering of Sticks a Violation. 

The Brazen Serpent and the Golden Cherubim Were Not Violations of the 679 
Second Commandment. Their Meaning. 

God's Purposes in Election and Rej ection of the Same Men, Such as King Saul, 681 

Explained, in Answer to the Marcionite Cavil. 

Instances of God's Repentance, and Notably in the Case of the Ninevites, 682 
Accounted for and Vindicated. 

God's Dealings with Adam at the Fall, and with Cain After His Crime, 685 

Admirably Explained and Defended. 

The Oath of God: Its Meaning. Moses, When Deprecating God's Wrath 687 
Against Israel, a Type of Christ. 

Other Objections Considered. God's Condescension in the Incarnation. 689 

Nothing Derogatory to the Divine Being in This Economy. The Divine Majesty 
Worthily Sustained by the Almighty Father, Never Visible to Man. Perverseness 
of the Marcionite Cavils. 

The Tables Turned Upon Marcion, by Contrasts, in Favour of the True God. 692 

Marcion's Own Antitheses, If Only the Title and Object of the Work Be 694 

Excepted, Afford Proofs of the Consistent Attributes of the True God. 

Book III. Wherein Christ is shown to be the Son of God, Who created the world; 696 
to have been predicted by the prophets; to have taken human flesh like our own, 
by a real incarnation. 

Introductory; A Brief Statement of the Preceding Argument in Connection 696 
with the Subject of This Book. 

Why Christ's Coming Should Be Previously Announced. 698 

Miracles Alone, Without Prophecy, an Insufficient Evidence of Christ's 700 

Mission. 

Marcion's Christ Not the Subject of Prophecy. The Absurd Consequences of 702 
This Theory of the Heretic. 

Sundry Features of the Prophetic Style: Principles of Its Interpretation. 704 

Community in Certain Points of Marcionite and Jewish Error. Prophecies of 706 
Christ's Rejection Examined. 

Prophecy Sets Forth Two Different Conditions of Christ, One Lowly, the 709 

Other Majestic. This Fact Points to Two Advents of Christ. 

Absurdity of Marcion's Docetic Opinions; Reality of Christ's Incarnation. 712 


xx 



Refutation of Marcion's Objections Derived from the Cases of the Angels, 714 

and the Pre- Incarnate Manifestations of the Son of God. 

The Truly Incarnate State More Worthy of God Than Marcion's Fantastic 716 
Flesh. 

Christ Was Truly Born; Marcion's Absurd Cavil in Defence of a Putative 717 
Nativity. 

Isaiah's Prophecy of Emmanuel. Christ Entitled to that Name. 719 

Isaiah's Prophecies Considered. The Virginity of Christ's Mother a Sign. Other 720 

Prophecies Also Signs. Metaphorical Sense of Proper Names in Sundry Passages 


of the Prophets. 

Figurative Style of Certain Messianic Prophecies in the Psalms. Military 723 

Metaphors Applied to Christ. 

The Title Christ Suitable as a Name of the Creator's Son, But Unsuited to 725 
Marcion's Christ. 

The Sacred Name Jesus Most Suited to the Christ of the Creator. Joshua a 727 
Type of Him. 

Prophecies in Isaiah and the Psalms Respecting Christ's Humiliation. 729 

Types of the Death of Christ. Isaac; Joseph; Jacob Against Simeon and Levi; 731 
Moses Praying Against Amalek; The Brazen Serpent. 

Prophecies of the Death of Christ. 733 


The Subsequent Influence of Christ's Death in the World Predicted. The Sure 735 
Mercies of David. What These are. 

The Call of the Gentiles Under the Influence of the Gospel Foretold. 738 

The Success of the Apostles, and Their Sufferings in the Cause of the Gospel, 740 

Foretold. 

The Dispersion of the Jews, and Their Desolate Condition for Rejecting Christ, 743 

Foretold. 

Christ's Millennial and Heavenly Glory in Company with His Saints. 746 

Book IV. In Which Tertullian Pursues His Argument. Jesus is the Christ of the 750 
Creator. He Derives His Proofs from St. Luke's Gospel; That Being the Only 
Historical Portion of the New Testament Partially Accepted by Marcion. This 
Book May Also Be Regarded as a Commentary on St. Luke. It Gives Remarkable 
Proof of Tertullian's Grasp of Scripture, and Proves that “The Old Testament 
is Not Contrary to the New.“ It Also Abounds in Striking Expositions of 
Scriptural Passages, Embracing Profound Views of Revelation, in Connection 
with the Nature of Man. 


xxi 



750 


Examination of the Antitheses of Marcion, Bringing Them to the Test of 
Marcion's Own Gospel. Certain True Antitheses in the Dispensations of the 
Old and the New Testaments. These Variations Quite Compatible with One 
and the Same God, Who Ordered Them. 

St. Luke's Gospel, Selected by Marcion as His Authority, and Mutilated by 754 
Him. The Other Gospels Equally Authoritative. Marcion's Terms of Discussion, 
However, Accepted, and Grappled with on the Footing of St. Luke's Gospel 
Alone. 

Marcion Insinuated the Untrustworthiness of Certain Apostles Whom St. 757 
Paul Rebuked. The Rebuke Shows that It Cannot Be Regarded as Derogating 
from Their Authority. The Apostolic Gospels Perfectly Authentic. 

Each Side Claims to Possess the True Gospel. Antiquity the Criterion of Truth 759 

in Such a Matter. Marcion's Pretensions as an Amender of the Gospel. 

By the Rule of Antiquity, the Catholic Gospels are Found to Be True, Including 761 

the Real St. Luke's. Marcion's Only a Mutilated Edition. The Heretic's Weakness 
and Inconsistency in Ignoring the Other Gospels. 

Marcion's Object in Adulterating the Gospel. No Difference Between the 764 
Christ of the Creator and the Christ of the Gospel. No Rival Christ Admissible. 

The Connection of the T rue Christ with the Dispensation of the Old T estament 
Asserted. 

Marcion Rejected the Preceding Portion of St. Luke's Gospel. Therefore This 766 
Review Opens with an Examination of the Case of the Evil Spirit in the 
Synagogue of Capernaum. He Whom the Demon Acknowledged Was the 
Creator's Christ. 

Other Proofs from the Same Chapter, that Jesus, Who Preached at Nazareth, 771 
and Was Acknowledged by Certain Demons as Christ the Son of God, Was 
the Creator's Christ. As Occasion Offers, the Docetic Errors of Marcion are 
Exposed. 

Out of St. Luke's Fifth Chapter are Found Proofs of Christ's Belonging to the 774 
Creator, E.g. In the Call of Fishermen to the Apostolic Office, and in the 
Cleansing of the Leper. Christ Compared with the Prophet Elisha. 

Further Proofs of the Same Truth in the Same Chapter, from the Healing of 779 
the Paralytic, and from the Designation Son of Man Which Jesus Gives Himself. 
Tertullian Sustains His Argument by Several Quotations from the Prophets. 

The Call of Levi the Publican. Christ in Relation to the Baptist. Christ as the 784 
Bridegroom. The Parable of the Old Wine and the New. Arguments 
Connecting Christ with the Creator. 


xxn 



Christ's Authority Over the Sabbath. As Its Lord He Recalled It from Pharisaic 788 
Neglect to the Original Purpose of Its Institution by the Creator the Case of 
the Disciples Who Plucked the Ears of Corn on the Sabbath. The Withered 
Hand Healed on the Sabbath. 

Christ's Connection with the Creator Shown. Many Quotations Out of the 793 
Old Testament Prophetically Bear on Certain Events of the Life of Jesus- -Such 
as His Ascent to Praying on the Mountain; His Selection of Twelve Apostles; 

His Changing Simon's Name to Peter, and Gentiles from Tyre and Sidon 
Resorting to Him. 

Christ's Sermon on the Mount. In Manner and Contents It So Resembles the 796 
Creator's Dispensational Words and Deeds. It Suggests Therefore the 
Conclusion that Jesus is the Creator's Christ. The Beatitudes. 

Sermon on the Mount Continued. Its Woes in Strict Agreement with the 801 
Creator's Disposition. Many Quotations Out of the Old Testament in Proof 
of This. 

The Precept of Loving One's Enemies. It is as Much Taught in the Creator's 806 
Scriptures of the Old Testament as in Christ's Sermon. The Lex Talionis of 
Moses Admirably Explained in Consistency with the Kindness and Love 
Which Jesus Christ Came to Proclaim and Enforce in Behalf of the Creator. 

Sundry Precepts of Charity Explained. 

Concerning Loans. Prohibition of Usury and the Usurious Spirit. The Law 812 
Preparatory to the Gospel in Its Provisions; So in the Present Instance. On 
Reprisals. Christ's Teaching Throughout Proves Him to Be Sent by the Creator. 

Concerning the Centurion's Faith. The Raising of the Widow's Son. John 816 
Baptist, and His Message to Christ; And the Woman Who Was a Sinner. 

Proofs Extracted from All of the Relation of Christ to the Creator. 

The Rich Women of Piety Who Followed Jesus Christ's Teaching by Parables. 82 1 

The Marcionite Cavil Derived from Christ's Remark, When Told of His Mother 
and His Brethren. Explanation of Christ's Apparent Rejection Them. 

Comparison of Christ's Power Over Winds and Waves with Moses' Command 825 
of the Waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan. Christ's Power Over Unclean 
Spirits. The Case of the Legion. The Cure of the Issue of Blood. The Mosaic 
Uncleanness on This Point Explained. 

Christ's Connection with the Creator Shown from Several Incidents in the 830 
Old Testament, Compared with St. Luke's Narrative of the Mission of the 
Disciples. The Feeding of the Multitude. The Confession of St. Peter. Being 
Ashamed of Christ. This Shame is Only Possible of the True Christ. Marcionite 
Pretensions Absurd. 

xxiii 



The Same Conclusion Supported by the Transfiguration. Marcion Inconsistent 835 
in Associating with Christ in Glory Two Such Eminent Servants of the Creator 
as Moses and Elijah. St. Peter's Ignorance Accounted for on Montanist 
Principle. 

Impossible that Marcion's Christ Should Reprove the Faithless Generation. 841 
Such Loving Consideration for Infants as the True Christ Was Apt to Shew, 

Also Impossible for the Other. On the Three Different Characters Confronted 
and Instructed by Christ in Samaria. 

On the Mission of the Seventy Disciples, and Christ's Charge to Them. 845 

Precedents Drawn from the Old Testament. Absurdity of Supposing that 
Marcion's Christ Could Have Given the Power of Treading on Serpents and 
Scorpions. 

Christ Thanks the Father for Revealing to Babes What He Had Concealed 849 
from the Wise. This Concealment Judiciously Effected by the Creator. Other 
Points in St. Luke's Chap. X. Shown to Be Only Possible to the Creator's Christ. 

From St. Luke's Eleventh Chapter Other Evidence that Christ Comes from 855 
the Creator. The Lord's Prayer and Other Words of Christ. The Dumb Spirit 
and Christ's Discourse on Occasion of the Expulsion. The Exclamation of the 
Woman in the Crowd. 

Christ's Reprehension of the Pharisees Seeking a Sign. His Censure of Their 860 
Love of Outward Show Rather Than Inward Holiness. Scripture Abounds 
with Admonitions of a Similar Purport. Proofs of His Mission from the 
Creator. 

Examples from the Old Testament, Balaam, Moses, and Hezekiah, to Show 864 
How Completely the Instruction and Conduct of Christ Are in Keeping with 
the Will and Purpose of the Creator. 

Parallels from the Prophets to Illustrate Christ's Teaching in the Rest of This 868 
Chapter of St. Luke. The Sterner Attributes of Christ, in His Judicial Capacity, 

Show Him to Have Come from the Creator. Incidental Rebukes of Marcion's 
Doctrine of Celibacy, and of His Altering of the Text of the Gospel. 

Parables of the Mustard-Seed, and of the Leaven. Transition to the Solemn 874 
Exclusion Which Will Ensue When the Master of the House Has Shut the 
Door. This Judicial Exclusion Will Be Administered by Christ, Who is Shown 
Thereby to Possess the Attribute of the Creator. 

Christ's Advice to Invite the Poor in Accordance with Isaiah. The Parable of 876 
the Great Supper a Pictorial Sketch of the Creator's Own Dispensations of 
Mercy and Grace. The Rejections of the Invitation Paralleled by Quotations 


xxiv 



from the Old Testament. Marcion's Christ Could Not Fulfil the Conditions 
Indicated in This Parable. The Absurdity of the Marcionite Interpretation. 

A Sort of Sorites, as the Logicians Call It, to Show that the Parables of the Lost 880 

Sheep and the Lost Drachma Have No Suitable Application to the Christ of 
Marcion. 

The Marcionite Interpretation of God and Mammon Refuted. The Prophets 881 
Justify Christ's Admonition Against Covetousness and Pride. John Baptist 
the Link Between the Old and the New Dispensations of the Creator. So Said 
Christ- -But So Also Had Isaiah Said Long Before. One Only God, the Creator, 
by His Own Will Changed the Dispensations. No New God Had a Hand in 
the Change. 

Moses, Allowing Divorce, and Christ Prohibiting It, Explained. John Baptist 885 
and Herod. Marcion's Attempt to Discover an Antithesis in the Parable of the 
Rich Man and the Poor Man in Hades Confuted. The Creator's Appointment 
Manifested in Both States. 

The Judicial Severity of Christ and the Tenderness of the Creator, Asserted 891 
in Contradiction to Marcion. The Cure of the Ten Lepers. Old Testament 
Analogies. The Kingdom of God Within You; This Teaching Similar to that 
of Moses. Christ, the Stone Rejected by the Builders. Indications of Severity 
in the Coming of Christ. Proofs that He is Not the Impassible Being Marcion 
Imagined. 

The Parables of the Importunate Widow, and of the Pharisee and the Publican. 897 

Christ's Answer to the Rich Ruler, the Cure of the Blind Man. His 
Salutation--Son of David. All Proofs of Christ's Relation to the Creator, 

Marcion's Antithesis Between David and Christ Confuted. 

Christ and Zacchaeus. The Salvation of the Body as Denied by Marcion. The 902 
Parable of the Ten Servants Entrusted with Ten Pounds. Christ a Judge, Who 
is to Administer the Will of the Austere Man, I.e. The Creator. 

Christ's Refutations of the Pharisees. Rendering Dues to Caesar and to God. 904 
Next of the Sadducees, Respecting Marriage in the Resurrection. These Prove 
Him Not to Be Marcion's But the Creator's Christ. Marcion's Tamperings in 
Order to Make Room for His Second God, Exposed and Confuted. 

Concerning Those Who Come in the Name of Christ. The Terrible Signs of 908 
His Coming. He Whose Coming is So Grandly Described Both in the Old 
Testament and the New Testament, is None Other Than the Christ of the 
Creator. This Proof Enhanced by the Parable of the Fig-Tree and All the Trees. 

Parallel Passages of Prophecy. 


xxv 



How the Steps in the Passion of the Saviour Were Predetermined in Prophecy. 914 

The Passover. The Treachery of Judas. The Institution of the Lord's Supper. 

The Docetic Error of Marcion Confuted by the Body and the Blood of the 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Woe Pronounced on the Traitor a Judicial Act, Which Disproves Christ 917 
to Be Such as Marcion Would Have Him to Be. Christ's Conduct Before the 
Council Explained. Christ Even Then Directs the Minds of His Judges to the 
Prophetic Evidences of His Own Mission. The Moral Responsibility of These 
Men Asserted. 

Other Incidents of the Passion Minutely Compared with Prophecy. Pilate and 920 
Herod. Barabbas Preferred to Jesus. Details of the Crucifixion. The Earthquake 
and the Mid-Day Darkness. All Wonderfully Foretold in the Scriptures of the 
Creator. Christ's Giving Up the Ghost No Evidence of Marcion's Docetic 
Opinions. In His Sepulture There is a Refutation Thereof. 

Conclusions. Jesus as the Christ of the Creator Proved from the Events of the 924 
Last Chapter of St. Luke. The Pious Women at the Sepulchre. The Angels at 
the Resurrection. The Manifold Appearances of Christ After the Resurrection. 

His Mission of the Apostles Amongst All Nations. All Shown to Be in 
Accordance with the Wisdom of the Almighty Father, as Indicated in Prophecy. 

The Body of Christ After Death No Mere Phantom. Marcion's Manipulation 
of the Gospel on This Point. 

Dr. Holmes' Note. 927 

Elucidations. 930 

Additional Note. 935 

Book V. Wherein Tertullian proves, with respect to St. Paul's epistles, what he 936 
had proved in the preceding book with respect to St. Luke's gospel. Far from 
being at variance, they were in perfect unison with the writings of the Old 
Testament, and therefore testified that the Creator was the only God, and that 
the Lord Jesus was his Christ. As in the preceding books, Tertullian supports 
his argument with profound reasoning, and many happy illustrations of Holy 
Scripture. 

Introductory. The Apostle Paul Himself Not the Preacher of a New God. 936 

Called by Jesus Christ, Although After the Other Apostles, His Mission Was 
from the Creator. States How. The Argument, as in the Case of the Gospel, 
Confining Proofs to Such Portions of St. Paul's Writings as Marcion Allowed. 

On the Epistle to the Galatians. The Abolition of the Ordinances of the Mosaic 941 
Law No Proof of Another God. The Divine Lawgiver, the Creator Himself, 

Was the Abrogator. The Apostle's Doctrine in the First Chapter Shown to 


xxvi 



Accord with the Teaching of the Old Testament. The Acts of the Apostles 
Shown to Be Genuine Against Marcion. This Book Agrees with the Pauline 
Epistles. 

St. Paul Quite in Accordance with St. Peter and Other Apostles of the 945 

Circumcision. His Censure of St. Peter Explained, and Rescued from Marcion's 
Misapplication. The Strong Protests of This Epistle Against Judaizers. Yet Its 
Teaching is Shown to Be in Keeping with the Law and the Prophets. Marcion's 
Tampering with St. Paul's Writings Censured. 

Another Instance of Marcion's Tampering with St. Paul's Text. The Fulness 951 

of Time, Announced by the Apostle, Foretold by the Prophets. Mosaic Rites 
Abrogated by the Creator Himself. Marcion's Tricks About Abraham's Name. 

The Creator, by His Christ, the Fountain of the Grace and the Liberty Which 
St. Paul Announced. Marcion's Docetism Refuted. 

The First Epistle to the Corinthians. The Pauline Salutation of Grace and 957 
Peace Shown to Be Anti-Marcionite. The Cross of Christ Purposed by the 
Creator. Marcion Only Perpetuates the Offence and Foolishness of Christ's 
Cross by His Impious Severance of the Gospel from the Creator. Analogies 
Between the Law and the Gospel in the Matter of Weak Things, and Foolish 
Things and Base Things. 

The Divine Way of Wisdom, and Greatness, and Might. God's Hiding of 961 
Himself, and Subsequent Revelation. To Marcion's God Such a Concealment 
and Manifestation Impossible. God's Predestination. No Such Prior System 
of Intention Possible to a God Previously Unknown as Was Marcion's. The 
Powers of the World Which Crucified Christ. St. Paul, as a Wise 
Master-Builder, Associated with Prophecy. Sundry Injunctions of the Apostle 
Parallel with the Teaching of the Old Testament. 

St. Paul's Phraseology Often Suggested by the Jewish Scriptures. Christ Our 966 
Passover— A Phrase Which Introduces Us to the Very Heart of the Ancient 
Dispensation. Christ's True Corporeity. Married and Unmarried States. 

Meaning of the Time is Short. In His Exhortations and Doctrine, the Apostle 
Wholly Teaches According to the Mind and Purposes of the God of the Old 
Testament. Prohibition of Meats and Drinks Withdrawn by the Creator. 

Man the Image of the Creator, and Christ the Head of the Man. Spiritual Gifts. 971 

The Sevenfold Spirit Described by Isaiah. The Apostle and the Prophet 
Compared. Marcion Challenged to Produce Anything Like These Gifts of the 
Spirit Foretold in Prophecy in His God. 

The Doctrine of the Resurrection. The Body Will Rise Again. Christ's Judicial 976 
Character. Jewish Perversions of Prophecy Exposed and Confuted. Messianic 
Psalms Vindicated. Jewish and Rationalistic Interpretations on This Point 


XXVll 



Similar. Jesus— Not Hezekiah or Solomon— The Subject of These Prophecies 
in the Psalms. None But He is the Christ of the Old and the New Testaments. 

Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body, Continued. How are the Dead 981 
Raised? and with What Body Do They Come? These Questions Answered in 
Such a Sense as to Maintain the Truth of the Raised Body, Against Marcion. 

Christ as the Second Adam Connected with the Creator of the First Man. Let 
Us Bear the Image of the Heavenly. The Triumph Over Death in Accordance 
with the Prophets. Hosea and St. Paul Compared. 

The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. The Creator the Father of Mercies. 987 
Shown to Be Such in the Old Testament, and Also in Christ. The Newness of 
the New Testament. The Veil of Obdurate Blindness Upon Israel, Not 
Reprehensible on Marcion's Principles. The Jews Guilty in Rejecting the Christ 
of the Creator. Satan, the God of This World. The T reasure in Earthen V essels 
Explained Against Marcion. The Creator's Relation to These Vessels, I.e. Our 
Bodies. 

The Eternal Home in Heaven. Beautiful Exposition by Tertullian of the 993 

Apostle's Consolatory Teaching Against the Fear of Death, So Apt to Arise 
Under Anti-Christian Oppression. The Judgment-Seat of Christ- -The Idea, 
Anti-Marcionite. Paradise. Judicial Characteristics of Christ Which are 
Inconsistent with the Heretical Views About Him; The Apostle's Sharpness, 
or Severity, Shows Him to Be a Fit Preacher of the Creator's Christ. 

The Epistle to the Romans. St. Paul Cannot Help Using Phrases Which Bespeak 997 
the Justice of God, Even When He is Eulogizing the Mercies of the Gospel. 

Marcion Particularly Hard in Mutilation of This Epistle. Yet Our Author 
Argues on Common Ground. The Judgment at Last Will Be in Accordance 
with the Gospel. The Justified by Faith Exhorted to Have Peace with God. 

The Administration of the Old and the New Dispensations in One and the 
Same Hand. 

The Divine Power Shown in Christ's Incarnation. Meaning of St. Paul's Phrase. 1002 
Likeness of Sinful Flesh. No Docetism in It. Resurrection of Our Real Bodies. 

A Wide Chasm Made in the Epistle by Marcion's Erasure. When the Jews are 
Upbraided by the Apostle for Their Misconduct to God; Inasmuch as that 
God Was the Creator, a Proof is in Fact Given that St. Paul's God Was the 
Creator. The Precepts at the End of the Epistle, Which Marcion Allowed, 

Shown to Be in Exact Accordance with the Creator's Scriptures. 

The First Epistle to the Thessalonians. The Shorter Epistles Pungent in Sense 1008 
and Very Valuable. St. Paul Upbraids the Jews for the Death First of Their 
Prophets and Then of Christ. This a Presumption that Both Christ and the 
Prophets Pertained to the Same God. The Law of Nature, Which is in Fact 

xxviii 



the Creator's Discipline, and the Gospel of Christ Both Enjoin Chastity. The 
Resurrection Provided for in the Old Testament by Christ. Man's Compound 
Nature. 

The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. An Absurd Erasure of Marcion; Its 1012 
Object Transparent. The Final Judgment on the Heathen as Well as the Jews 
Could Not Be Administered by Marcion's Christ. The Man of Sin— What? 
Inconsistency of Marcion's View. The Antichrist. The Great Events of the 
Last Apostasy Within the Providence and Intention of the Creator, Whose 
are All Things from the Beginning. Similarity of the Pauline Precepts with 
Those of the Creator. 

The Epistle to the Laodiceans. The Proper Designation is to the Ephesians. 1015 
Recapitulation of All Things in Christ from the Beginning of the Creation. 

No Room for Marcion's Christ Here. Numerous Parallels Between This Epistle 
and Passages in the Old Testament. The Prince of the Power of the Air, and 
the God of This World— Who? Creation and Regeneration the Work of One 
God. How Christ Has Made the Law Obsolete. A Vain Erasure of Marcion's. 

The Apostles as Well as the Prophets from the Creator. 

Another Foolish Erasure of Marcion's Exposed. Certain Figurative Expressions 1021 
of the Apostle, Suggested by the Language of the Old Testament. Collation 
of Many Passages of This Epistle, with Precepts and Statements in the 
Pentateuch, the Psalms, and the Prophets. All Alike Teach Us the Will and 
Purpose of the Creator. 

The Epistle to the Colossians. Time the Criterion of Truth and Heresy. 1027 

Application of the Canon. The Image of the Invisible God Explained. 

Pre-Existence of Our Christ in the Creator's Ancient Dispensations. What is 
Included in the Fulness of Christ. The Epicurean Character of Marcion's God. 

The Catholic Truth in Opposition Thereto. The Law is to Christ What the 
Shadow is to the Substance. 

The Epistle to the Philippians. The Variances Amongst the Preachers of Christ 1032 
No Argument that There Was More Than One Only Christ. St. Paul's 
Phrases— Form of a Servant, Likeness, and Fashion of a Man— No Sanction of 
Docetism. No Antithesis (Such as Marcion Alleged) in the God of Judaism 
and the God of the Gospel Deducible from Certain Contrasts Mentioned in 
This Epistle. A Parallel with a Passage in Genesis. The Resurrection of the 
Body, and the Change Thereof. 

The Epistle to Philemon. This Epistle Not Mutilated. Marcion's Inconsistency 1035 
in Accepting This, and Rejecting Three Other Epistles Addressed to 
Individuals. Conclusions. T ertullian Vindicates the Symmetry and Deliberate 
Purpose of His Work Against Marcion. 


xxix 



Elucidations. 1036 

Against Hermogenes. 1038 

The Opinions of Hermogenes, by the Prescriptive Rule of Antiquity Shown to 1038 
Be Heretical. Not Derived from Christianity, But from Heathen Philosophy. 

Some of the Tenets Mentioned. 

Hermogenes, After a Perverse Induction from Mere Heretical Assumptions, 1040 

Concludes that God Created All Things Out of Pre-Existing Matter. 

An Argument of Hermogenes. The Answer: While God is a Title Eternally 1042 
Applicable to the Divine Being, Lord and Father are Only Relative Appellations, 

Not Eternally Applicable. An Inconsistency in the Argument of Hermogenes 
Pointed Out. 

Hermogenes Gives Divine Attributes to Matter, and So Makes Two Gods. 1044 

Hermogenes Coquets with His Own Argument, as If Rather Afraid of It. After 1045 
Investing Matter with Divine Qualities, He Tries to Make It Somehow Inferior 
to God. 

The Shifts to Which Hermogenes is Reduced, Who Deifies Matter, and Yet is 1047 
Unwilling to Hold Him Equal with the Divine Creator. 

Hermogenes Held to His Theory in Order that Its Absurdity May Be Exposed 1048 
on His Own Principles. 

On His Own Principles, Hermogenes Makes Matter, on the Whole, Superior 1049 
to God. 

Sundry Inevitable But Intolerable Conclusions from the Principles of 1050 

Hermogenes. 

To What Straits Hermogenes Absurdly Reduces the Divine Being. He Does 1052 
Nothing Short of Making Him the Author of Evil. 

Hermogenes Makes Great Efforts to Remove Evil from God to Matter. How He 1054 
Fails to Do This Consistently with His Own Argument. 

The Mode of Controversy Changed. The Premisses of Hermogenes Accepted, 1056 
in Order to Show into What Confusion They Lead Him. 

Another Ground of Hermogenes that Matter Has Some Good in It. Its Absurdity. 1058 

Tertullian Pushes His Opponent into a Dilemma. 1059 

The Truth, that God Made All Things from Nothing, Rescued from the 1060 

Opponent's Flounderings. 

A Series of Dilemmas. They Show that Hermogenes Cannot Escape from the 1062 
Orthodox Conclusion. 


xxx 



The Truth of God's Work in Creation. You Cannot Depart in the Least from 1064 
It, Without Landing Yourself in an Absurdity. 

An Eulogy on the Wisdom and Word of God, by Which God Made All Things 1065 
of Nothing. 

An Appeal to the History of Creation. True Meaning of the Term Beginning, 1067 
Which the Heretic Curiously Wrests to an Absurd Sense. 

Meaning of the Phrase--In the Beginning. Tertullian Connects It with the 1069 
Wisdom of God, and Elicits from It the Truth that the Creation Was Not Out 
of Pre-Existent Matter. 

A Retort of Heresy Answered. That Scripture Should in So Many Words Tell 1071 
Us that the World Was Made of Nothing is Superfluous. 

This Conclusion Confirmed by the Usage of Holy Scripture in Its History of 1072 
the Creation. Hermogenes in Danger of the Woe Pronounced Against Adding 
to Scripture. 

Hermogenes Pursued to Another Passage of Scripture. The Absurdity of His 1074 
Interpretation Exposed. 

Earth Does Not Mean Matter as Hermogenes Would Have It. 1075 

The Assumption that There are Two Earths Mentioned in the History of the 1076 
Creation, Refuted. 

The Method Observed in the History of the Creation, in Reply to the Perverse 1078 
Interpretation of Hermogenes. 

Some Hair-Splitting Use of Words in Which His Opponent Had Indulged. 1080 

A Curious Inconsistency in Hermogenes Exposed. Certain Expressions in The 1081 
History of Creation Vindicated in The True Sense. 

The Gradual Development of Cosmical Order Out of Chaos in the Creation, 1082 

Beautifully Stated. 

Another Passage in the Sacred History of the Creation, Released from the 1085 

Mishandling of Hermogenes. 

A Further Vindication of the Scripture Narrative of the Creation, Against a 1087 

Futile View of Hermogenes. 

The Account of the Creation in Genesis a General One, Corroborated, However, 1089 
by Many Other Passages of the Old Testament, Which Give Account of Specific 
Creations. Further Cavillings Confuted. 

Statement of the True Doctrine Concerning Matter. Its Relation to God's 1092 
Creation of the World. 


xxxi 



A Presumption that All Things Were Created by God Out of Nothing Afforded 1093 
by the Ultimate Reduction of All Things to Nothing. Scriptures Proving This 
Reduction Vindicated from Hermogenes' Charge of Being Merely Figurative. 

Contradictory Propositions Advanced by Hermogenes Respecting Matter and 1095 


Its Qualities. 

Other Absurd Theories Respecting Matter and Its Incidents Exposed in an 1096 
Ironical Strain. Motion in Matter. Hermogenes' Conceits Respecting It. 

Ironical Dilemmas Respecting Matter, and Sundry Moral Qualities Fancifully 1098 
Attributed to It. 

Other Speculations of Hermogenes, About Matter and Some of Its Adjuncts, 1100 
Shown to Be Absurd. For Instance, Its Alleged Infinity. 

These Latter Speculations Shown to Be Contradictory to the First Principles 1101 
Respecting Matter, Formerly Laid Down by Hermogenes. 

Shapeless Matter an Incongruous Origin for God's Beautiful Cosmos. 1102 


Hermogenes Does Not Mend His Argument by Supposing that Only a Portion 
of Matter Was Used in the Creation. 

Sundry Quotations from Hermogenes. Now Uncertain and Vague are His 1103 
Speculations Respecting Motion in Matter, and the Material Qualities of Good 
and Evil. 

Further Exposure of Inconsistencies in the Opinions of Hermogenes Respecting 1105 
the Divine Qualities of Matter. 

Other Discrepancies Exposed and Refuted Respecting the Evil in Matter Being 1106 
Changed to Good. 

Curious Views Respecting God's Method of Working with Matter Exposed. 1107 
Discrepancies in the Heretic's Opinion About God's Local Relation to Matter. 

Conclusion. Contrast Between the Statements of Hermogenes and the Testimony 1108 
of Holy Scripture Respecting the Creation. Creation Out of Nothing, Not Out 
of Matter. 

Against the V alentinians . 1110 

Introductory. T ertullian Compares the Heresy to the Old Eleusinian Mysteries. 1110 
Both Systems Alike in Preferring Concealment of Error and Sin to Proclamation 
of Truth and Virtue. 

These Heretics Brand the Christians as Simple Persons. The Charge Accepted, 1112 
and Simplicity Eulogized Out of the Scriptures. 

The Folly of This Heresy. It Dissects and Mutilates the Deity. Contrasted with 1113 
the Simple Wisdom of True Religion. To Expose the Absurdities of the 
Valentinian System is to Destroy It. 

xxxii 



The Heresy Traceable to Valentinus, an Able But Restless Man. Many 
Schismatical Leaders of the School Mentioned. Only One of Them Shows Respect 
to the Man Whose Name Designates the Entire School. 

Many Eminent Christian Writers Have Carefully and Fully Refuted the Heresy. 
These the Author Makes His Own Guides. 

Although Writing in Latin He Proposes to Retain the Greek Names of the 
Valentinian Emanations of Deity. Not to Discuss the Heresy But Only to Expose 
It. This with the Raillery Which Its Absurdity Merits. 

The First Eight Emanations, or /Eons, Called the Ogdoad, are the Fountain of 
All the Others. Their Names and Descent Recorded. 

The Names and Descent of Other /Eons; First Half a Score, Then Two More, 
and Ultimately a Dozen Besides. These Thirty Constitute the Pleroma. But 
Why Be So Capricious as to Stop at Thirty? 

Other Capricious Features in the System. The /Eons Unequal in Attributes. The 
Superiority of Nus; The Vagaries of Sophia Restrained by Horos. Grand Titles 
Borne by This Last Power. 

Another Account of the Strange Aberrations of Sophia, and the Restraining 
Services of Horus. Sophia Was Not Herself, After All, Ejected from the Pleroma, 
But Only Her Enthymesis. 

The Profane Account Given of the Origin of Christ and the Holy Ghost Sternly 
Rebuked. An Absurdity Respecting the Attainment of the Knowledge of God 
Ably Exposed. 

The Strange Jumble of the Pleroma. The Frantic Delight of the Members Thereof. 
Their Joint Contribution of Parts Set Forth with Humorous Irony. 

First Part of the Subject, Touching the Constitution of the Pleroma, Briefly 
Recapitulated. Transition to the Other Part, Which is Like a Play Outside the 
Curtain. 

The Adventures of Achamoth Outside the Pleroma. The Mission of Christ in 
Pursuit of Her. Her Longing for Christ. Horos' Hostility to Her. Her Continued 
Suffering. 

Strange Account of the Origin of Matter, from the Various Affections of 
Achamoth. The Waters from Her Tears; Light from Her Smile. 

Achamoth Purified from All Impurities of Her Passion by the Paraclete, Acting 
Through Soter, Who Out of the Above-Mentioned Impurities Arranges Matter, 
Separating Its Evil from the Better Qualities. 

Achamoth in Love with the Angels. A Protest Against the Lascivious Features 
of Valentinianism. Achamoth Becomes the Mother of Three Natures. 


1115 

1117 

1118 

1119 

1121 

1123 

1125 

1127 

1129 

1131 

1132 

1134 

1136 

1137 
xxxiii 



Blasphemous Opinion Concerning the Origin of the Demiurge, Supposed to 
Be the Creator of the Universe. 

Palpable Absurdities and Contradictions in the System Respecting Achamoth 
and the Demiurge. 

The Demiurge Works Away at Creation, as the Drudge of His Mother Achamoth, 
in Ignorance All the While of the Nature of His Occupation. 

The Vanity as Well as Ignorance of the Demiurge. Absurd Results from So 
Imperfect a Condition. 

Origin of the Devil, in the Criminal Excess of the Sorrow of Achamoth. The 
Devil, Called Also Munditenens, Actually Wiser Than the Demiurge, Although 
His Work. 

The Relative Positions of the Pleroma. The Region of Achamoth, and the 
Creation of the Demiurge. The Addition of Fire to the Various Elements and 
Bodies of Nature. 

The Formation of Man by the Demiurge. Human Flesh Not Made of the Ground, 
But of a Nondescript Philosophic Substance. 

An Extravagant Way of Accounting for the Communication of the Spiritual 
Nature to Man. It Was Furtively Managed by Achamoth, Through the 
Unconscious Agency of Her Son. 

The Three Several Natures— The Material, the Animal, and the Spiritual, and 
Their Several Destinations. The Strange Valentinian Opinion About the 
Structure of Soter's Nature. 

The Christ of the Demiurge, Sent into the W orld by the V irgin. N ot of Her. He 
Found in Her, Not a Mother, But Only a Passage or Channel. Jesus Descended 
Upon Christ, at His Baptism, Tike a Dove; But, Being Incapable of Suffering, 
He Feft Christ to Die on the Cross Alone. 

The Demiurge Cured of His Ignorance by the Saviour's Advent, from Whom 
He Hears of the Great Future in Store for Himself. 

The Three Natures Again Adverted to. They are All Exemplified Amongst Men. 
For Instance, by Cain, and Abel, and Seth. 

The Fax and Dangerous Views of This Sect Respecting Good Works. That These 
are Unnecessary to the Spiritual Man. 

At the Fast Day Great Changes Take Place Amongst the /Eons as Well as Among 
Men. How Achamoth and the Demiurge are Affected Then. Irony on the Subject. 

Indignant Irony Exposing the Valentinian Fable About the Judicial Treatment 
of Mankind at the Fast Judgment. The Immorality of the Doctrine. 


1138 

1139 

1140 

1141 

1142 

1143 

1144 

1145 

1146 

1147 

1148 

1149 

1151 

1152 

1153 


xxxiv 



These Remaining Chapters an Appendix to the Main Work. In This Chapter 
Tertullian Notices a Difference Among Sundry Followers of Ptolemy, a Disciple 
of Valentinus. 

Other Varying Opinions Among the Valentinians Respecting the Deity, 
Characteristic Raillery. 

Yet More Discrepancies. Just Now the Sex of Bythus Was an Object of Dispute; 
Now His Rank Comes in Question. Absurd Substitutes for Bythus Criticised by 
Tertullian. 

Less Reprehensible Theories in the Heresy. Bad is the Best of Valentinianism. 

Other Turgid and Ridiculous Theories About the Origin of the /Eons and 
Creation, Stated and Condemned. 

Diversity in the Opinions of Secundus, as Compared with the General Doctrine 
of Valentinus. 

Their Diversity of Sentiment Affects the Very Central Doctrine of Christianity, 
Even the Person and Character of the Lord Jesus. This Diversity Vitiates Every 
Gnostic School. 

On the Flesh of Christ. 

The General Purport of This Work. The Heretics, Marcion, Apelles, and 
Valentinus, Wishing to Impugn the Doctrine of the Resurrection, Deprive Christ 
of All Capacity for Such a Change by Denying His Flesh. 

Marcion, Who Would Blot Out the Record of Christ's Nativity, is Rebuked for 
So Startling a Heresy. 

Christ's Nativity Both Possible and Becoming. The Heretical Opinion of Christ's 
Apparent Flesh Deceptive and Dishonourable to God, Even on Marcion's 
Principles. 

God's Honour in the Incarnation of His Son Vindicated. Marcion's 
Disparagement of Human Flesh Inconsistent as Well as Impious. Christ Has 
Cleansed the Flesh. The Foolishness of God is Most Wise. 

Christ Truly Lived and Died in Human Flesh. Incidents of His Human Life on 
Earth, and Refutation of Marcion's Docetic Parody of the Same. 

The Doctrine of Apelles Refuted, that Christ's Body Was of Sidereal Substance, 
Not Born. Nativity and Mortality are Correlative Circumstances, and in Christ's 
Case His Death Proves His Birth. 

Explanation of the Lord's Question About His Mother and His Brethren. Answer 
to the Cavils of Apelles and Marcion, Who Support Their Denial of Christ's 
Nativity by It. 


1155 

1156 

1157 

1158 

1159 

1160 
1161 

1162 

1162 

1164 

1166 

1169 

1171 

1174 

1177 


XXXV 



Apelles and His Followers, Displeased with Our Earthly Bodies, Attributed to 1180 
Christ a Body of a Purer Sort. How Christ Was Heavenly Even in His Earthly 
Flesh. 

Christ's Flesh Perfectly Natural, Like Our Own. None of the Supernatural 1182 
Features Which the Heretics Ascribed to It Discoverable, on a Careful View. 

Another Class of Heretics Refuted. They Alleged that Christ's Flesh Was of a 1184 
Finer Texture, Animalis, Composed of Soul. 

The Opposite Extravagance Exposed. That is Christ with a Soul Composed of 1185 
Flesh- -Corporeal, Though Invisible. Christ's Soul, Like Ours, Distinct from 
Flesh, Though Clothed in It. 

The True Functions of the Soul. Christ Assumed It in His Perfect Human Nature, 1187 
Not to Reveal and Explain It, But to Save It. Its Resurrection with the Body 
Assured by Christ. 

Christ's Human Nature. The Flesh and the Soul Both Fully and Unconfusedly 1189 
Contained in It. 

Christ Took Not on Him an Angelic Nature, But the Human. It Was Men, Not 1191 
Angels, Whom He Came to Save. 

The Valentinian Figment of Christ's Flesh Being of a Spiritual Nature, Examined 1193 
and Refuted Out of Scripture. 

Christ's Flesh in Nature, the Same as Ours, Only Sinless. The Difference Between 1195 
Carnem Peccati and Peccatum Carnis: It is the Latter Which Christ Abolished. 

The Flesh of the First Adam, No Less Than that of the Second Adam, Not 
Received from Human Seed, Although as Entirely Human as Our Own, Which 
is Derived from It. 

The Similarity of Circumstances Between the First and the Second Adam, as to 1197 
the Derivation of Their Flesh. An Analogy Also Pleasantly Traced Between Eve 
and the Virgin Mary. 

The Mystery of the Assumption of Our Perfect Human Nature by the Second 1199 
Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is Here Called, as Often Elsewhere, the Spirit. 

Christ, as to His Divine Nature, as the Word of God, Became Flesh, Not by 1201 
Carnal Conception, Nor by the Will of the Flesh and of Man, But by the Will 
of God. Christ's Divine Nature, of Its Own Accord, Descended into the Virgin's 
Womb. 

Christ Born of a Virgin, of Her Substance. The Physiological Facts of His Real 1203 
and Exact Birth of a Human Mother, as Suggested by Certain Passages of 
Scripture. 


xxxvi 



The Word of God Did Not Become Flesh Except in the Virgin's Womb and of 
Her Substance. Through His Mother He is Descended from Her Great Ancestor 
David. He is Described Both in the Old and in the New Testament as “The Fruit 
of David's Loins.” 

Holy Scripture in the New Testament, Even in Its Very First Verse, Testifies to 
Christ's True Flesh. In Virtue of Which He is Incorporated in the Human Stock 
of David, and Abraham, and Adam. 

Simeon's “Sign that Should Be Contradicted,” Applied to the Heretical 
Gainsaying of the True Birth of Christ. One of the Heretics' Paradoxes Turned 
in Support of Catholic Truth. 

Divine Strictures on Various Heretics Descried in Various Passages of Prophetical 
Scripture. Those Who Assail the True Doctrine of the One Lord Jesus Christ, 
Both God and Man, Thus Condemned. 

Conclusion. This Treatise Forms a Preface to the Other Work, “On the 
Resurrection of the Flesh,” Proving the Reality of the Flesh Which Was Truly 
Born, and Died, and Rose Again. 

Elucidations. 

On the Resurrection of the Flesh. 

The Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body Brought to Light by the Gospel. 
The Faintest Glimpses of Something Like It Occasionally Met with in 
Heathenism. Inconsistencies of Pagan Teaching. 

The Jewish Sadducees a Link Between the Pagan Philosophers and the Heretics 
on This Doctrine. Its Fundamental Importance Asserted. The Soul Fares Better 
Than the Body, in Heretical Estimation, as to Its Future State. Its Extinction, 
However, Was Held by One Lucan. 

Some Truths Held Even by the Heathen. They Were, However, More Often 
Wrong Both in Religious Opinions and in Moral Practice. The Heathen Not 
to Be Followed in Their Ignorance of the Christian Mystery. The Heretics 
Perversely Prone to Follow Them. 

Heathens and Heretics Alike in Their Vilification of the Flesh and Its Functions, 
the Ordinary Cavils Against the Final Restitution of So Weak and Ignoble a 
Substance. 

Some Considerations in Reply Eulogistic of the Flesh. It Was Created by God. 
The Body of Man Was, in Fact, Previous to His Soul. 

Not the Lowliness of the Material, But the Dignity and Skill of the Maker, Must 
Be Remembered, in Gauging the Excellence of the Flesh. Christ Partook of Our 
Flesh. 


1205 

1207 

1209 

1211 

1213 

1214 

1215 
1215 

1217 

1220 

1222 

1224 

1226 


xxxvn 



The Earthy Material of Which Flesh is Created W onderfully Improved by God's 1228 
Manipulation. By the Addition of the Soul in Man's Constitution It Became the 
Chief Work in the Creation. 

Christianity, by Its Provision for the Flesh, Has Put on It the Greatest Honour. 1230 
The Privileges of Our Religion in Closest Connection with Our Flesh. Which 
Also Bears a Targe Share in the Duties and Sacrifices of Religion. 

God's Fove for the Flesh of Man, as Developed in the Grace of Christ T owards 1231 
It. The Flesh the Best Means of Displaying the Bounty and Power of God. 

Holy Scripture Magnifies the Flesh, as to Its Nature and Its Prospects. 1232 

The Power of God Fully Competent to Effect the Resurrection of the Flesh. 1233 

Some Analogies in Nature Which Corroborate the Resurrection of the Flesh. 1235 

From Our Author's View of a Verse in the Ninety-Second Psalm, the Phoenix 1236 

is Made a Symbol of the Resurrection of Our Bodies. 

A Sufficient Cause for the Resurrection of the Flesh Occurs in the Future 1237 

Judgment of Man. It Will Take Cognisance of the Works of the Body No Fess 
Than of the Soul. 

As the Flesh is a Partaker with the Soul in All Human Conduct, So Will It Be 1239 
in the Recompense of Eternity. 

The Heretics Called the Flesh “The Vessel of the Soul,” In Order to Destroy the 1241 
Responsibility of the Body. Their Cavil Turns Upon Themselves and Shows the 
Flesh to Be a Sharer in Human Actions. 

The Flesh Will Be Associated with the Soul in Enduring the Penal Sentences of 1243 
the Final Judgment. 

Scripture Phrases and Passages Clearly Assert “The Resurrection of the Dead.” 1245 
The Force of This Very Phrase Explained as Indicating the Prominent Place of 
the Flesh in the General Resurrection. 

The Sophistical Sense Put by Heretics on the Phrase “Resurrection of the Dead,” 1247 
As If It Meant the Moral Change of a New Fife. 

Figurative Senses Have Their Foundation in Fiteral Fact. Besides, the Allegorical 1248 
Style is by No Means the Only One Found in the Prophetic Scriptures, as Alleged 
by the Heretics. 

No Mere Metaphor in the Phrase Resurrection of the Dead. In Proportion to 1250 
the Importance of Eternal Truths, is the Clearness of Their Scriptural 
Enunciation. 

The Scriptures Forbid Our Supposing Either that the Resurrection is Already 1251 
Past, or that It Takes Place Immediately at Death. Our Hopes and Prayers Point 
to the Fast Great Day as the Period of Its Accomplishment. 

xxxviii 



Sundry Passages of St. Paul, Which Speak of a Spiritual Resurrection, Compatible 1253 
with the Future Resurrection of the Body, Which is Even Assumed in Them. 

Other Passages Quoted from St. Paul, Which Categorically Assert the 1255 

Resurrection of the Flesh at the Final Judgment. 

St. John, in the Apocalypse, Equally Explicit in Asserting the Same Great 1257 

Doctrine. 

Even the Metaphorical Descriptions of This Subject in the Scriptures Point to 1258 
the Bodily Resurrection, the Only Sense Which Secures Their Consistency and 


Dignity. 

Certain Metaphorical Terms Explained of the Resurrection of the Flesh. 1260 

Prophetic Things and Actions, as Well as Words, Attest This Great Doctrine. 1262 
Ezekiel's Vision of the Dry Bones Quoted. 1263 

This Vision Interpreted by Tertullian of the Resurrection of the Bodies of the 1264 


Dead. A Chronological Error of Our Author, Who Supposes that Ezekiel in His 
Ch. XXXI. Prophesied Before the Captivity. 

Other Passages Out of the Prophets Applied to the Resurrection of the Flesh. 1266 

Even Unburied Bodies Will Be Raised Again. Whatever Befalls Them God Will 1268 
Restore Them Again. Jonah's Case Quoted in Illustration of God's Power. 

So Much for the Prophetic Scriptures. In the Gospels, Christ's Parables, as 1270 
Explained by Himself, Have a Clear Reference to the Resurrection of the Flesh. 

Christ Plainly Testifies to the Resurrection of the Entire Man. Not in His Soul 1272 
Only, Without the Body. 

Explanation of What is Meant by the Body, Which is to Be Raised Again. Not 1274 


the Corporeality of the Soul. 

Christ's Refutation of the Sadducees, and Affirmation of Catholic Doctrine. 1276 

Christ's Assertion About the Unprofitableness of the Flesh Explained 1278 

Consistently with Our Doctrine. 

Christ, by Raising the Dead, Attested in a Practical Way the Doctrine of the 1280 
Resurrection of the Flesh. 

Additional Evidence Afforded to Us in the Acts of the Apostles. 1281 

Sundry Passages of St. Paul Which Attest Our Doctrine Rescued from the 1283 
Perversions of Heresy. 

The Dissolution of Our Tabernacle Consistent with the Resurrection of Our 1285 

Bodies. 


Death Changes, Without Destroying, Our Mortal Bodies. Remains of the Giants. 1286 


xxxix 



No Disparagement of Our Doctrine in St. Paul's Phrase, Which Calls Our 1288 
Residence in the Flesh Absence from the Lord. 

Sundry Other Passages of St. Paul Explained in a Sentence Confirmatory of Our 1290 
Doctrine. 

The Old Man and the New Man of St. Paul Explained. 1292 

It is the Works of the Flesh, Not the Substance of the Flesh, Which St. Paul 1294 
Always Condemns. 

St. Paul, All Through, Promises Eternal Life to the Body. 1296 

Sundry Passages in the Great Chapter of the Resurrection of the Dead Explained 1299 
in Defence of Our Doctrine. 

The Same Subject Continued. What Does the Apostle Exclude from the Dead? 1302 
Certainly Not the Substance of the Flesh. 

In What Sense Flesh and Blood are Excluded from the Kingdom of God. 1305 

The Session of Jesus in His Incarnate Nature at the Right Hand of God a 1307 

Guarantee of the Resurrection of Our Flesh. 

From St. Paul's Analogy of the Seed We Learn that the Body Which Died Will 1309 
Rise Again, Garnished with the Appliances of Eternal Life. 

Not the Soul, But the Natural Body Which Died, is that Which is to Rise Again. 1312 
The Resurrection of Lazarus Commented on. Christ's Resurrection, as the 
Second Adam, Guarantees Our Own. 

Death Swallowed Up of Life. Meaning of This Phrase in Relation to the 1315 

Resurrection of the Body. 

The Change of a Thing's Condition is Not the Destruction of Its Substance. The 1316 
Application of This Principle to Our Subject. 

The Procedure of the Last Judgment, and Its Awards, Only Possible on the 1318 
Identity of the Risen Body with Our Present Flesh. 

Our Bodies, However Mutilated Before or After Death, Shall Recover Their 1319 
Perfect Integrity in the Resurrection. Illustration of the Enfranchised Slave. 

From This Perfection of Our Restored Bodies Will Flow the Consciousness of 1321 
Undisturbed Joy and Peace. 

Our Flesh in the Resurrection Capable, Without Losing Its Essential Identity, 1323 
of Bearing the Changed Conditions of Eternal Life, or of Death Eternal. 

All the Characteristics of Our Bodies— Sex, Various Limbs, Etc.— Will Be 1325 

Retained, Whatever Change of Functions These May Have, of Which Point, 
However, We are No Judges. Analogy of the Repaired Ship. 


xl 



The Details of Our Bodily Sex, and of the Functions of Our Various Members. 
Apology for the Necessity Which Heresy Imposes of Hunting Up All Its 
Unblushing Cavils. 

Our Destined Likeness to the Angels in the Glorious Life of the Resurrection. 

Conclusion. The Resurrection of the Flesh in Its Absolute Identity and Perfection. 
Belief of This Had Become Weak. Hopes for Its Refreshing Restoration Under 
the Influences of the Paraclete. 

Elucidations. 

Against Praxeas. 

Satan's Wiles Against the Truth. How They Take the Form of the Praxean 
Heresy. Account of the Publication of This Heresy. 

The Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity and Unity, Sometimes Called the Divine 
Economy, or Dispensation of the Personal Relations of the Godhead. 

Sundry Popular Fears and Prejudices. The Doctrine of the Trinity in Unity 
Rescued from These Misapprehensions. 

The Unity of the Godhead and the Supremacy and Sole Government of the 
Divine Being. The Monarchy Not at All Impaired by the Catholic Doctrine. 

The Evolution of the Son or Word of God from the Father by a Divine 
Procession. Illustrated by the Operation of the Human Thought and 
Consciousness. 

The Word of God is Also the Wisdom of God. The Going Forth of Wisdom to 
Create the Universe, According to the Divine Plan. 

The Son by Being Designated Word and Wisdom, (According to the 
Imperfection of Human Thought and Language) Liable to Be Deemed a Mere 
Attribute. He is Shown to Be a Personal Being. 

Though the Son or Word of God Emanates from the Father, He is Not, Like the 
Emanations of Valentinus, Separable from the Father. Nor is the Holy Ghost 
Separable from Either. Illustrations from Nature. 

The Catholic Rule of Faith Expounded in Some of Its Points. Especially in the 
Unconfused Distinction of the Several Persons of the Blessed Trinity. 

The Very Names of Father and Son Prove the Personal Distinction of the Two. 
They Cannot Possibly Be Identical, Nor is Their Identity Necessary to Preserve 
the Divine Monarchy. 

The Identity of the Father and the Son, as Praxeas Held It, Shown to Be Full of 
Perplexity and Absurdity. Many Scriptures Quoted in Proof of the Distinction 
of the Divine Persons of the Trinity. 


1327 

1329 

1330 

1332 

1334 

1334 

1337 

1339 

1341 

1342 

1344 

1345 

1348 

1350 

1352 

1354 


xli 



Other Quotations from Holy Scripture Adduced in Proof of the Plurality of 1357 

Persons in the Godhead. 

The Force of Sundry Passages of Scripture Illustrated in Relation to the Plurality 1359 
of Persons and Unity of Substance. There is No Polytheism Here, Since the 
Unity is Insisted on as a Remedy Against Polytheism. 

The Natural Invisibility of the Father, and the Visibility of the Son Witnessed 1362 
in Many Passages of the Old Testament. Arguments of Their Distinctness, Thus 
Supplied. 

New Testament Passages Quoted. They Attest the Same Truth of the Son's 1365 
Visibility Contrasted with the Father's Invisibility. 

Early Manifestations of the Son of God, as Recorded in the Old Testament; 1368 
Rehearsals of His Subsequent Incarnation. 

Sundry August Titles, Descriptive of Deity, Applied to the Son, Not, as Praxeas 1371 
Would Have It, Only to the Father. 

The Designation of the One God in the Prophetic Scriptures. Intended as a 1372 
Protest Against Heathen Idolatry, It Does Not Preclude the Correlative Idea of 
the Son of God. The Son is in the Father. 

The Son in Union with the Father in the Creation of All Things. This Union of 1374 
the Two in Co-Operation is Not Opposed to the True Unity of God. It is Opposed 
Only to Praxeas’ Identification Theory. 

The Scriptures Relied on by Praxeas to Support His Heresy But Few. They are 1376 
Mentioned by Tertullian. 

In This and the Four Following Chapters It is Shewn, by a Minute Analysis of 1377 
St. John's Gospel, that the Father and Son are Constantly Spoken of as Distinct 
Persons. 

Sundry Passages of St. John Quoted, to Show the Distinction Between the Father 1381 
and the Son. Even Praxeas' Classic Text--I and My Father are One--Shown to 
Be Against Him. 

More Passages from the Same Gospel in Proof of the Same Portion of the 1385 
Catholic Faith. Praxeas' Taunt of Worshipping Two Gods Repudiated. 

On St. Philip's Conversation with Christ. He that Hath Seen Me, Hath Seen the 1388 
Father. This Text Explained in an Anti-Praxean Sense. 

The Paraclete, or Holy Ghost. He is Distinct from the Father and the Son as to 1391 
Their Personal Existence. One and Inseparable from Them as to Their Divine 
Nature. Other Quotations Out of St. John's Gospel. 

A Brief Reference to the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. Their Agreement 1393 
with St. John, in Respect to the Distinct Personality of the Father and the Son. 


xlii 



The Distinction of the Father and the Son, Thus Established, He Now Proves 1396 

the Distinction of the Two Natures, Which Were, Without Confusion, United 
in the Person of the Son. The Subterfuges of Praxeas Thus Exposed. 

Christ Not the Father, as Praxeas Said. The Inconsistency of This Opinion, No 1399 
Less Than Its Absurdity, Exposed. The True Doctrine of Jesus Christ According 
to St. Paul, Who Agrees with Other Sacred Writers. 

It Was Christ that Died. The Father is Incapable of Suffering Either Solely or 1401 
with Another. Blasphemous Conclusions Spring from Praxeas' Premises. 

How the Son Was Forsaken by the Father Upon the Cross. The True Meaning 1403 


Thereof Fatal to Praxeas. So Too, the Resurrection of Christ, His Ascension, 

Session at the Father's Right Hand, and Mission of the Holy Ghost. 

Retrograde Character of the Heresy of Praxeas. The Doctrine of the Blessed 1405 
Trinity Constitutes the Great Difference Between Judaism and Christianity. 

Postscript. 1406 

Elucidations. 1407 

Scorpiace. 1412 

Chapter I. 1412 

Chapter II. 1415 

Chapter III. 1418 

Chapter IV. 1420 

Chapter V. 1421 

Chapter VI. 1423 

Chapter VII. 1425 

Chapter VIII. 1427 

Chapter IX. 1429 

Chapter X. 1432 

Chapter XI. 1436 

Chapter XII. 1438 

Chapter XIII. 1440 

Chapter XIV. 1442 

Chapter XV. 1443 

Appendix: Against All Heresies. 1445 

Earliest Heretics: Simon Magus, Menander, Saturninus, Basilides, Nicolaus. 1445 


xliii 



1448 


Ophites, Cainites, Sethites. 

Carpocrates, Cerinthus, Ebion. 1451 

Valentinus, Ptolemy and Secundus, Heracleon. 1452 

Marcus and Colarbasus. 1455 

Cerdo, Marcion, Lucan, Apelles. 1456 

Tatian, Cataphrygians, Cataproclans, Cataeschinetans. 1458 

Blastus, Two Theodoti, Praxeas. 1459 

Ethical. 1461 

Title Page. 1461 

On Repentance. 1462 

Of Heathen Repentance. 1462 


True Repentance a Thing Divine, Originated by God, and Subject to His Laws. 1463 

Sins May Be Divided into Corporeal and Spiritual. Both Equally Subject, If Not 1465 
to Human, Yet to Divine Investigation and Punishment. 

Repentance Applicable to All the Kinds of Sin. To Be Practised Not Only, Nor 1467 
Chiefly, for the Good It Brings, But Because God Commands It. 

Sin Never to Be Returned to After Repentance. 1469 

Baptism Not to Be Presumptously Received. It Requires Preceding Repentance, 1471 
Manifested by Amendment of Life. 

Of Repentance, in the Case of Such as Have Lapsed After Baptism. 1474 

Examples from Scripture to Prove the Lord's Willingness to Pardon. 1476 

Concerning the Outward Manifestations by Which This Second Repentance is 1478 
to Be Accompanied. 

Of Men's Shrinking from This Second Repentance and Exomologesis, and of 1479 


the Unreasonableness of Such Shrinking. 

Purther Strictures on the Same Subject. 1481 

Pinal Considerations to Induce to Exomologesis. 1482 

Elucidations. 1484 

On Baptism. 1487 

Introduction. Origin of the Treatise. 1487 

The Very Simplicity of God's Means of Working, a Stumbling-Block to the 1488 

Carnal Mind. 


xliv 



Water Chosen as a Vehicle of Divine Operation and Wherefore. Its Prominence 1489 
First of All in Creation. 

The Primeval Hovering of the Spirit of God Over the Waters Typical of Baptism. 149 1 
The Universal Element of Water Thus Made a Channel of Sanctification. 
Resemblance Between the Outward Sign and the Inward Grace. 

Use Made of Water by the Heathen. Type of the Angel at the Pool of Bethsaida. 1493 

The Angel the Forerunner of the Holy Spirit. Meaning Contained in the 1495 

Baptismal Formula. 

Of the Unction. 1496 

Of the Imposition of Hands. Types of the Deluge and the Dove. 1497 

Types of the Red Sea, and the Water from the Rock. 1499 

Of John's Baptism. 1501 

Answer to the Objection that “The Lord Did Not Baptize.” 1503 

Of the Necessity of Baptism to Salvation. 1504 

Another Objection: Abraham Pleased God Without Being Baptized. Answer 1506 
Thereto. Old Things Must Give Place to New, and Baptism is Now a Law. 

Of Paul's Assertion, that He Had Not Been Sent to Baptize. 1507 

Unity of Baptism. Remarks on Heretical And Jewish Baptism. 1508 

Of the Second Baptism- -With Blood. 1509 

Of the Power of Conferring Baptism. 1510 

Of the Persons to Whom, and the Time When, Baptism is to Be Administered. 1512 

Of the Times Most Suitable for Baptism. 1514 

Of Preparation For, and Conduct After, the Reception of Baptism. 1515 

Elucidation. 1517 

On Prayer. 1518 

General Introduction. 1518 

The First Clause. 1520 

The Second Clause. 1521 

The Third Clause. 1522 

The Fourth Clause. 1523 

The Fifth Clause. 1524 

The Sixth Clause. 1525 

The Seventh or Final Clause. 1526 


xlv 



Recapitulation. 1527 

We May Superadd Prayers of Our Own to the Lord's Prayer. 1528 

When Praying the Father, You are Not to Be Angry with a Brother. 1529 

We Must Be Free Likewise from All Mental Perturbation. 1530 

Of Washing the Hands. 1531 

Apostrophe. 1532 

Of Putting Off Cloaks. 1533 

Of Sitting After Prayer. 1534 

Of Elevated Hands. 1535 

Of the Kiss of Peace. 1536 

Of Stations. 1537 

Of Women's Dress. 1538 

Of Virgins. 1539 

Answer to the Foregoing Arguments. 1540 

Of Kneeling. 1544 

Of Place for Prayer. 1545 

Of Time for Prayer. 1546 

Of the Parting of Brethren. 1547 

Of Subjoining a Psalm. 1548 

Of the Spiritual Victim, Which Prayer is. 1549 

Of the Power of Prayer. 1550 

Ad Martyras. 1552 

Chapter I. 1552 

Chapter II. 1553 

Chapter III. 1555 

Chapter IV. 1556 

Chapter V. 1558 

Chapter VI. 1559 

The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas. 1560 

Introductory Notice. 1560 

Preface. 1562 

xlvi 



Argument. --When the Saints Were Apprehended, St. Perpetua Successfully 1563 

Resisted Her Father's Pleading, Was Baptized with the Others, Was Thrust into 
a Filthy Dungeon. Anxious About Her Infant, by a Vision Granted to Her, She 
Understood that Her Martyrdom Would Take Place Very Shortly. 

Argument. Perpetua, When Besieged by Her Father, Comforts Him. When Led 1565 
with Others to the Tribunal, She Avows Herself a Christian, and is Condemned 
with the Rest to the Wild Beasts. She Prays for Her Brother Dinocrates, Who 
Was Dead. 

Argument. Perpetua is Again Tempted by Her Father. Her Third Vision, Wherein 1568 
She is Led Away to Struggle Against an Egyptian. She Fights, Conquers, and 
Receives the Reward. 

Argument. Saturus, in a Vision, and Perpetua Being Carried by Angels into the 1570 
Great Light, Behold the Martyrs. Being Brought to the Throne of God, are 
Received with a Kiss. They Reconcile Optatus the Bishop and Aspasius the 
Presbyter. 

Argument. Secundulus Dies in the Prison. Felicitas is Pregnant, But with Many 1572 
Prayers She Brings Forth in the Eighth Month Without Suffering, the Courage 
of Perpetua and of Saturus Unbroken. 

Argument. From the Prison They are Led Forthwith Joy into the Amphitheatre, 1574 
Especially Perpetua and Felicitas. All Refuse to Put on Profane Garments. They 
are Scourged, They are Thrown to the Wild Beasts. Saturus Twice is Unhurt. 
Perpetua and Felicitas are Thrown Down; They are Called Back to the 
Sanavivarian Gate. Saturus Wounded by a Leopard, Exhorts the Soldier. They 


Kiss One Another, and are Slain with the Sword. 

Elucidations. 1577 

On Patience. 1578 

Of Patience Generally; And Tertullian's Own Unworthiness to Treat of It. 1578 
God Himself an Example of Patience. 1580 


Jesus Christ in His Incarnation and Work a More Imitable Example Thereof. 1581 
Duty of Imitating Our Master Taught Us by Slaves. Even by Beasts. Obedient 1583 


Imitation is Founded on Patience. 

As God is the Author of Patience So the Devil is of Impatience. 1585 

Patience Both Antecedent and Subsequent to Faith. 1588 

The Causes of Impatience, and Their Correspondent Precepts. 1589 

Of Patience Under Personal Violence and Malediction. 1591 

Of Patience Under Bereavement. 1593 


xlvii 



Of Revenge. 1594 

Further Reasons for Practising Patience. Its Connection with the Beatitudes. 1596 

Certain Other Divine Precepts. The Apostolic Description of Charity. Their 1598 
Connection with Patience. 

Of Bodily Patience. 1600 

The Power of This Twofold Patience, the Spiritual and the Bodily. Exemplified 1602 
in the Saints of Old. 

General Summary of the Virtues and Effects of Patience. 1603 

The Patience of the Heathen Very Different from Christian Patience. Theirs 1604 
Doomed to Perdition. Ours Destined to Salvation. 

Elucidations. 1605 

Indexes 1607 

Index of Scripture References 1608 

Greek Words and Phrases 1619 

Hebrew Words and Phrases 1630 

French Words and Phrases 1631 

Index of Pages of the Print Edition 1632 


xlviii 



m ChmsTian Classics 
£ T J ]eKea l Libnatiy 


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xlix 


Title Page. 


The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325 


ANTE-NICENE FATHERS 

VOLUME 3. 

Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian 
I. Apologetic; II. Anti-Marcion; III. Ethical 

Edited by 

Allan Menzies, D.D. 

T&T CLARK 
EDINBURGH 


WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY 
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 


1 



Second Title Page. 


LATIN CHRISTIANITY: 

— in 

jij 

ITS FOUNDER, TERTULLIAN 


THREE PARTS: I. APOLOGETIC; II. ANTI-MARCION; III. ETHICAL. 


AMERICAN EDITION. 


Ta apxaia eGr) KpareiTOj. 

The Nicene Council 


2 



Preface. 


Preface. 


We present a volume widely differing, in its contents, from those which have gone before; 
it contains the works of the great founder of Latin Christianity, the versatile and brilliant 
Tertullian. Not all his works, indeed, for they could not be contained in one of our books. 
This book, however, considerably overruns the promised number of pages, and gives three 
complete parts of Tertullian’s writings, according to the classification of our Editor-in-chief. 
The Fourth volume will begin with the fourth class of his works, those which exhibit our 
author’s ascetic ideas and the minor morals of the Primitive Christians, that collection being 
closed by the four treatises which were written in support of a defined and schismatical 
Montanism. 

The Editor-in-chief has been in active correspondence with representative men of divers 
theological schools, hoping to secure their co-operation in editorial work. As yet, however, 
the result has not enabled us to announce more than one additional collaborator: the 
rapidity with which the successive volumes must be furnished proving an almost insurmount- 
able obstacle in the way of securing as co-workers, divines actively engaged in professional 
duties and literary tasks. The sympathy and encouragement which have been expressed by 
all with whom a correspondence has been opened, have been most cheering. To the Rev. 
Dr. Riddle, of Hartford, well known as one of the most learned of the AmericaHaern Revisers 
of the New Testament, we are indebted for his consent to edit one of the concluding volumes 
of the Series, accompanying it with a Bibliographical Review of the entire Literature of the 
Patrologia of the Ante-Nicene period: supplying therein a compendious view of all the 
writers upon this period and of the latest critical editions of the Ante-Nicene authors 
themselves. The editor-in-chief will continue his annotations and the usual prefaces, in 
Professor Riddle’s volume, but will be relieved, in some degree, of the laborious and minute 
attention to details which earlier volumes have necessarily exacted. 

It is needful to remind the reader that he possesses in this volume what has long been 
a desideratum among divines. The crabbed Latin of the great Tertullian has been thought 
to defy translation: and the variety and uncertain dates of his works have rendered classific- 
ation and arrangement almost an equal difficulty. But here is the work achieved by competent 
hands, and now, for the first time, reduced to orderly and methodical plan. We have little 
doubt that the student on comparing our edition with that of the Edinburgh Series, will 
congratulate himself on the great gain of the arrangement; and we trust the original matter 
with which it is illustrated may be found not less acceptable. 


3 



Apologetic. 


TERTULLIAN. 

K 

1 

PART FIRST. 


4 



Introductory Note. 


Introductory Note. 

N 

3 

[a.d. 145-220.] When our Lord repulsed the woman of Canaan (Matt. xv. 22) with ap- 
parent harshness, he applied to her people the epithet dogs, with which the children of Israel 
had thought it piety to reproach them. When He accepted her faith and caused it to be re- 
corded for our learning, He did something more: He reversed the curse of the Canaanite 
and showed that the Church was designed “for all people;” Catholic alike for all time and 
for all sorts and conditions of men. 

Thus the North- African Church was loved before it was born: the Good Shepherd was 
gently leading those “that were with young.” Here was the charter of those Christians to be 
a Church, who then were Canaanites in the land of their father Ham. It is remarkable indeed 
that among these pilgrims and strangers to the West the first elements of Latin Christianity 
come into view. Even at the close of the Second Century the Church in Rome is an incon- 
siderable, though prominent, member of the great confederation of Christian Churches 
which has its chief seats in Alexandria and Antioch, and of which the entire Literature is 
Greek. It is an African presbyter who takes from Latin Christendom the reproach of theolo- 
gical and literary barrenness and begins the great work in which, upon his foundations, 

Cyprian and Augustine built up, with incomparable genius, that Carthaginian School of 
Christian thought by which Latin Theology was dominated for centuries. It is important to 
note (1.) that providentially not one of these illustrious doctors died in Communion with 
the Roman See, pure though it was and venerable at that time; and (2.) that to the works of 
Augustine the Reformation in Germany and Continental Europe was largely due; while (3.) 
the specialties of the Anglican Reformation were, in like proportion, due to the writings of 
Tertullian and Cyprian. The hinges of great and controlling destinies for Western Europe 
and our own America are to be found in the period we are now approaching. 

The merest school-boy knows much of the history of Carthage, and how the North 
Africans became Roman citizens. How they became Christians is not so clear. A melancholy 
destiny has enveloped Carthage from the outset, and its glory and greatness as a Christian 
See were transient indeed. It blazed out all at once in Tertullian, after about a century of 
missionary labours had been exerted upon its creation: and having given a Minucius Felix, 
an Arnobius and a Lactantius to adorn the earliest period of Western Ecclesiastical learning, 
in addition to its nobler luminaries, it rapidly declined. At the beginning of the Third Century, 
at a council presided over by Agrippinus, Bishop of Carthage, there were present not less 
than seventy bishops of the Province. A period of cruel persecutions followed, and the 
African Church received a baptism of blood. 

Tertullian was born a heathen, and seems to have been educated at Rome, where he 
probably practiced as a jurisconsult. We may, perhaps, adopt most of the ideas of Allix, as 


5 


Introductory Note. 


conjecturally probable, and assign his birth to a.d. 145. He became a Christian about 185, 
and a presbyter about 190. The period of his strict orthodoxy very nearly expires with the 
century. He lived to an extreme old age, and some suppose even till a.d. 240. More probably 
we must adopt the date preferred by recent writers, a.d. 220. 

It seems to be the fashion to treat of Tertullian as a Montanist, and only incidentally to 
celebrate his services to the Catholic Orthodoxy of Western Christendom. Were I his bio- 
grapher I should reverse this course, as a mere act of justice, to say nothing of gratitude to 
a man of splendid intellect, to whom the filial spirit of Cyprian accorded the loving tribute 
of a disciple, and whose genius stamped itself upon the very words of Latin theology, and 
prepared the language for the labours of a Jerome. In creating the Vulgate, and so lifting 
the Western Churches into a position of intellectual equality with the East, the latter as well 
as St. Augustine himself were debtors to Tertullian in a degree not to be estimated by any 
other than the Providential Mind that inspired his brilliant career as a Christian. 

In speaking of Tatian I laid the base for what I wished to say of Tertullian. Let God only 
be their judge; let us gratefully recognize the debt we owe to them. Let us read them, as we 
read the works of King Solomon. We must, indeed, approve of the discipline of the Primitive 
Age, which allowed of no compromises. The Church was struggling for existence, and could 
not permit any man to become her master. The more brilliant the intellect, the more dan- 
gerous to the poor Church were its perversions of her Testimony. Before the heathen 
tribunals, and in the market-places, it would not answer to let Christianity appear double- 
tongued. The orthodoxy of the Church, not less than her children, was undergoing an ordeal 
of fire. It seems a miracle that her Testimony preserved its unity, and that heresy was branded 
as such by the instinct of the Faithful. Poor Tertullian was cut off by his own act. The 
weeping Church might bewail him as David mourned for Absalom, but like David, she 
could not give the Ark of God into other hands than those of the loyal and the true. I have 
set the writings of Tertullian in a natural and logical order 1 , so as to aid the student, and to 
relieve him from the distractions of such an arrangement as one finds in Oehler’s edition. 
Valuable as it is, the practical use of it is irritating and confusing. The reader of that edition 
may turn to the slightly differing schemes of Neander and Kaye, for a theoretical order of 
the works; but here he will find a classification which will aid his inquiries. He will find, 
first, those works which connect with the Apologists of the former volumes of this series: 
which illustrate the Church’s position toward the outside world, the Jews as well as the 
Gentiles. Next come those works which contend with internal differences and heresies. And 
then, those which reflect the morals and manners of Christians. These are classed with some 
reference to their degrees of freedom from the Montanistic taint, and are followed, last of 


1 Elucidation I. 


6 



Introductory Note. 


all, by the few tracts which belong to the melancholy period of his lapse, and are directed 
against the Church’s orthodoxy. 

Let it be borne in mind, that if this sad close of Tertullian’s career cannot be extenuated, 
the later history of Latin Christianity forbids us to condemn him, in the tones which pro- 
ceeded from the Virgin Church with authority, and which the law of her testimony and the 
instinct of self-preservation forced her to utter. Let us reflect that St. Bernard and after him 
the Schoolmen, whom we so deservedly honour, separated themselves far more absolutely 
than ever Tertullian did from the orthodoxy of Primitive Christendom. The schism which 
withdrew the West from Communion with the original seats of Christendom, and from 
Nicene Catholicity, was formidable beyond all expression, in comparison with Tertullian’s 
entanglements with a delusion which the See of Rome itself had momentarily patronized. 
Since the Council of Trent, not a theologian of the Latins has been free from organic heresies, 
compared with which the fanaticism of our author was a trifling aberration. Since the late 
Council of the Vatican, essential Montanism has become organized in the Latin Churches: 
for what are the new revelations and oracles of the pontiff but the deliria of another claimant 
to the voice and inspiration of the Paraclete? Poor Tertullian! The sad influences of his decline 
and folly have been fatally felt in all the subsequent history of the West, but, surely subscribers 
to the Modern Creed of the Vatican have reason to “speak gently of their father’s fall.” To 
Dollinger, with the “Old Catholic” remnant only, is left the right to name the Montanists 

'y 

heretics, or to upbraid Tertullian as a lapser from Catholicity.” 

From Dr. Holmes, I append the following Introductory Notice: 

(I.) Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, as our author is called in the mss. of his 
works, is thus noticed by Jerome in his Catalogus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum : 2 3 4 “Tertullian, 
a presbyter, the first Latin writer after Victor and Apollonius, was a native of the province 


2 The notes of Dr. Holmes were bracketted, and I have been forced to remove this feature, as brackets are 
tokens in this edition of the contributions of American editors. The perpetual recurrence of brackets in his 
translations has led me to improve the page by parenthetical marks instead, which answer as well and rarely can 
be mistaken for the author’s parentheses, while these disfigure the printer’s work much less. I have sometimes 
substituted italics for brackets, where an inconsiderable word, like and or for, was bracketted by the translator. 
In every case that I have noted, an intelligent reader will readily perceive such instances; but a critic who may 
wish to praise, or condemn, should carefully compare the Edinburgh pages with our own. I found them so 
painful to the eye and so needlessly annoying to the reader, that I have taken the responsibility of making what 
seems to me a very great typographical improvement. 

3 (I.) Concerning Tertullian; (II.) Concerning his Work against Marcion, its date, etc.; (III.) Concerning 
Marcion; (IV.) Concerning Tertullian’s Bible; (V.) Influence of his Montanism on his writings. 

4 We quote Bishop Kaye’s translation of Jerome’s article; see his Account of the Writings of Tertullian, pp. 
5-8. 


7 



Introductory Note. 


of Africa and city of Carthage, the son of a proconsular centurion: he was a man of a sharp 
and vehement temper, flourished under Severus and Antoninus Caracalla, and wrote nu- 
merous works, which (as they are generally known) I think it unnecessary to particularize. 

I saw at Concordia, in Italy, an old man named Paulus. He said that when young he had 
met at Rome with an aged amanuensis of the blessed Cyprian, who told him that Cyprian 
never passed a day without reading some portion of Tertullian’s works, and used frequently 
to say, Give me my master, meaning Tertullian. After remaining a presbyter of the church 
until he had attained the middle age of life, Tertullian was, by the envy and contumelious 
treatment of the Roman clergy, driven to embrace the opinions of Montanus, which he has 
mentioned in several of his works under the title of the New Prophecy.. . .He is reported to 
have lived to a very advanced age, and to have composed many other works which are not 
extant.” We add Bishop Kaye’s notes on this extract, in an abridged shape: “The correctness 
of some parts of this account has been questioned. Doubts have been entertained whether 
Tertullian was a presbyter, although these have solely arisen from Roman Catholic objections 
to a married priesthood; for it is certain that he was married, there being among his works 
two treatises addressed to his wife.. . .Another question has been raised respecting the place 
where Tertullian officiated as a presbyter — whether at Carthage or at Rome. That he at one 
time resided at Carthage maybe inferred from Jerome’s statement, and is rendered certain 
by several passages of his own writings. Allix supposes that the notion of his having been a 
presbyter of the Roman Church owed its rise to what Jerome said of the envy and abuse of 
the Roman clergy impelling him to espouse the party of Montanus. Optatus , 5 6 7 8 and the author 
of the work de Hceresibus, which Sirmond edited under the title of Praedestinatus, expressly 
call him a Carthaginian presbyter. Semler, however, in a dissertation inserted in his edition 
of Tertullian’s works, contends that he was a presbyter of the Roman Church. Eusebius 
tells us that he was accurately acquainted with the Roman laws, and on other accounts a 

o 

distinguished person at Rome. Tertullian displays, moreover, a knowledge of the proceedings 
of the Roman Church with respect to Marcion and Valentinus, who were once members of 
it, which could scarcely have been obtained by one who had not himself been numbered 
amongst its presbyters . 9 Semler admits that, after Tertullian seceded from the church, he 
left and returned to Carthage. Jerome does not inform us whether Tertullian was born of 


5 Adv. Parmenianum , i. 

6 Chap. ii. 

7 Ecd. Hist., ii. 2. 

8 Valesius, however, supposes the historian’s words rwv pdAiara eiri 'Ptopr|<; Aapjtpwv to mean, that Tertullian 
had obtained distinction among Latin writers. 

9 See De Prcescript. Hceretic. xxx. 



Introductory Note. 


Christian parents, or was converted to Christianity. There are passages in his writings 10 
which seem to imply that he had been a Gentile; yet he may perhaps mean to describe, not 
his own condition, but that of Gentiles in general, before their conversion. Allix and the 
majority of commentators understand them literally, as well as some other passages in which 
he speaks of his own infirmities and sinfulness. His writings show that he flourished at the 
period specified by Jerome — that is, during the reigns of Severus and Antoninus Caracalla, 
or between the years a.d. 193 and 216; but they supply no precise information respecting 
the date of his birth, or any of the principal occurrences of his life. Allix places his birth 
about 145 or 150; his conversion to Christianity about a.d. 185; his marriage about 186; his 
admission to the priesthood 11 about 192; his adoption of the opinions of Montanus about 

199; and his death about a.d. 220. But these dates, it must be understood, rest entirely on 

• . »12 
conjecture. 

(II.) Tertullian’s work against Marcion, as it happens, is, as to its date, the best authen- 
ticated — perhaps the only well authenticated — particular connected with the author’s life. 
He himself mentions the fifteenth year of the reign of Severus as the time when he was 
writing the work: “Ad xv. jam Severi imperatoris.” This agrees with Jerome’s Chronicle, 
where occurs this note: “Anno 2223 Severi xv° Tertullianus. . .celebratur.” 14 This year is as- 
signed to the year of our Lord 207; 15 but notwithstanding the certainty of this date, it is far 
from clear that it describes more than the time of the publication of the first book. On the 
contrary, it is nearly certain that the other books, although connected manifestly enough 
in the author’s argument and purpose (compare the initial and the final chapters of the 
several books), were yet issued at separate times. Noesselt 16 shows that between the Book 
i. and Books ii.-iv. Tertullian issued his De Pr rescript. Hceret., and previous to Book v. he 
published his tracts, De Carne Christi and De Resurrectione Carnis. After giving the incon- 
testable date of the xv. of Severus for the first book, he says it is a mistake to suppose that 


10 De Pcenitentia, i. Hoc genus hominum, quod et ipsi retro fuimus, caeci, sine Domini lumine, natura tenus 
norant; De Fuga inPersecutione.vi. Nobis autem et via nationum patet, in qua etinventi sumus; Ac/v. Marcionem , 
iii. 21. Et nationes, quod sumus nos; Apolog. xviii. Haec et nos risimus aliquando; de vestris fuimus; also De 
Spectac. xix. 

1 1 [Kaye, p. 9. A fair view of this point.] 

12 These notes of Bishop Kaye may be found, in their fuller form, in his work on Tertullian, pp. 8-12. 

13 Book i., chap. xv. 

14 Jerome probably took this date as the central period, when Tertullian “flourished,” because of its being the 
only clearly authenticated one, and because also (it may be) of the importance and fame of the Treatise against 
Marcion. 

15 So Clinton, Fasti Romani , i. 204; or 208, Pamelius, Vita Tertull. 

16 In his treatise, De vera cetate ac doctrina script. Tertulliani, sections 28, 45. 


9 



Introductory Note. 


the other books were published with it. He adds: “Although we cannot undertake to determine 
whether Tertullian issued his Books ii., iii., iv., against Marcion, together or separately, or 
in what year, we yet venture to affirm that Book v. appeared apart from the rest. For the 
tract De Resurr. Carnis appears from its second chapter to have been published after the 
tract De Carne Christi, in which latter work (chap, vii.) he quotes a passage from the fourth 
book against Marcion. But in his Book v. against Marcion (chap, x.), he refers to his work 
De Resurr. Carnis; which circumstance makes it evident that Tertullian published his Book 
v. at a different time from his Book iv. In his Book i. he announces his intention (chap, i.) 
of some time or other completing his tract De Prcescript. Hceret., but in his book De Carne 
Christi (chap, ii.), he mentions how he had completed it, — a conclusive proof that his Book 
i. against Marcion preceded the other books.” 

(III.) Respecting Marcion himself, the most formidable heretic who had as yet opposed 
revealed truth, enough will turn up in this treatise, with the notes which we have added in 
explanation, to satisfy the reader. It will, however, be convenient to give here a few intro- 

i n 

ductory particulars of him. Tertullian mentions Marcion as being, with Valentinus, in 
communion with the Church at Rome, “under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus.” 
He goes on to charge them with “ever-restless curiosity, with which they infected even the 
brethren;” and informs us that they were more than once put out of communion — “Marcion, 
indeed, with the 200 sesterces which he brought into the church.” He goes on to say, that 
“being at last condemned to the banishment of a perpetual separation, they sowed abroad 
the poisons of their doctrines. Afterwards, when Marcion, having professed penitence, 
agreed to the terms offered to him, that he should receive reconciliation on condition that 
he brought back to the church the rest also, whom he had trained up for perdition, he was 
prevented by death.” He was a native of Sinope in Pontus, of which city, according to an 
account preserved by Epiphanius, 19 which, however, is somewhat doubtful, his father was 
bishop, and of high character both for his orthodoxy and exemplary practice. He came to 
Rome soon after the death of Hyginus, probably about a.d. 141 or 142; and soon after his 

90 

arrival he adopted the heresy of Cerdon. 

(IV.) It is an interesting question as to what edition of the Holy Scriptures Tertullian 
used in his very copious quotations. It may at once be asserted that he did not cite from the 
Hebrew, although some writers have claimed for him, among his varied learning, a knowledge 
of the sacred language. Bp. Kaye observes, page 61, n. 1, that “he sometimes speaks as if he 
was acquainted with Hebrew,” and refers to the Anti-Marcion iv. 39, the Adv. Praxeam v., 



17 De Prcescript. Hceret. xxx. 

18 Comp. Adv. Marcionem, iv. 4. 

19 I., Adv. Hceret. xlii. 1. 

20 Dr. Burton’s Lectures on Eccl. Hist, of First Three Centuries, ii. 105-109. 


10 



Introductory Note. 


and the Adv. Judceos ix. Be this as it may, it is manifest that Tertullian’s Scripture passages 
never resemble the Hebrew, but in nearly every instance the Septuagint, whenever, as is 
most frequently the case, that version differs from the original. In the New Testament there 
is, as might be expected, a tolerably close conformity to the Greek. There is, however, it 
must be allowed, a sufficiently frequent variation from the letter of both the Greek T estaments 

9 1 

to justify Semler’s suspicion that Tertullian always quoted from the old Latin version,” 
whatever that might have been, which was current in the African church in the second and 
third centuries. The most valuable part of Semler’s Dissertatio de varia et incerta indole 
Librorum Q. S. F. Tertulliani is his investigation of this very point. In section iv. he endeavours 
to prove this proposition: “Hie scriptor non in manibus habuit Graecos libros sacros;” and 
he states his conclusion thus: “Certissimum est nec Tertullianum nec Cyprian um nec ullum 
scriptorem e Latinis illis ecclesiasticis provocare unquam ad Graecorum librorum auctorit- 
atem si vel maxime obscura aut contraria lectio occurreret;” and again: “Ex his satis certum 
est, Latinos satis diu secutos fuisse auctoritatem suorum librorum adversus Graecos, nec 
concessisse nisi serius, cum Augustini et Hieronymi nova auctoritas juvare videretur.” It is 
not ignorance of Greek which is imputed to Tertullian, for he is said to have well understood 
that language, and even to have composed in it. He probably followed the Latin, as writers 
now usually quote the authorized English, as being current and best known among their 
readers. Independent feeling, also, would have weight with such a temper as Tertullian’s, 
to say nothing of the suspicion which largely prevailed in the African branch of the Latin 
church, that the Greek copies of the Scriptures were much corrupted by the heretics, who 
were chiefly, if not wholly, Greeks or Greek- speaking persons. 

(V.) Whatever perverting effect Tertullian’s secession to the sect of Montanus may 
have had on his judgment in his latest writings, it did not vitiate the work against Marcion. 
With a few trivial exceptions, this treatise maybe read by the strictest Catholic without any 
feeling of annoyance. His lapse to Montanism is set down conjecturally as having taken 


21 Or versions. 

22 Tertullianus. 

23 Vincentius Lirinensis, in his celebrated Commonitorium, expresses the opinion of Catholic churchmen 
concerning Tertullian thus: “Tertullian, among the Latins, without controversy, is the chief of all our writers. 
For who was more learned than he? Who in divinity or humanity more practised? For, by a certain wonderful 
capacity of mind, he attained to and understood all philosophy, all the sects of philosophers, all their founders 
and supporters, all their systems, all sorts of histories and studies. And for his wit, was he not so excellent, so 
grave, so forcible, that he scarce ever undertook the overthrow of any position, but either by quickness of wit 
he undermined, or by weight of reason he crushed it? Further, who is able to express the praises which his style 
of speech deserves, which is fraught (I know none like it) with that cogency of reason, that such as it cannot 
persuade, it compels to assent; whose so many words almost are so many sentences; whose so many senses, so 


11 



Introductory Note. 


place a.d. 199. Jerome, we have seen, attributed the event to his quarrel with the Roman 
clergy, but this is at least doubtful; nor must it be forgotten that Tertullian’s mind seems to 
have been peculiarly suited by nature 24 to adopt the mystical notions and ascetic principles 
of Montan us. It is satisfactory to find that, on the whole, “the authority of Tertullian,” as 
the learned Dr. Burton says, “upon great points of doctrine is considered to be little, if at 
all, affected by his becoming a Montanist.” ( Lectures on Eccl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 234.) Besides 
the different works which are expressly mentioned in the notes of this volume, recourse has 
been had by the translator to Dupin’s Hist. Eccl. Writers (trans.), vol. i. pp. 69-86; Tillemont’s 
Memoires Hist. Eccl. iii. 85-103; Dr. Smith’s Greek and Roman Biography, articles “Marcion” 
and “Tertullian;” Schaff s article, in Herzog’s Cyclopaedia, on “Tertullian;” Munter’s Primordia 
Eccl. Africance, pp. 118-150; Robertson’s Church Hist. vol. i. pp. 70-77; Dr. P. Schaff s Hist, 
of Christian Church (New York, 1859, pp. 511-519), and Archdeacon Evans’ Biography of 
the Early Church, vol. i. (Lives of “Marcion,” pp. 93-122, and “Tertullian,” pp. 325-363). 
This last work, though of a popular cast, shows a good deal of research and learning, ex- 
pressed in the pleasant style of the once popular author of The Rectory of Vale Head. The 
translator has mentioned these works, because they are all quite accessible to the general 
reader, and will give him adequate information concerning the subject treated in the present 
volume. 

To this introduction of Dr. Holmes must be added that of Mr. Thelwall, the translator 
of the Third volume in the Edinburgh Series, as follows: 

To arrange chronologically the works (especially if numerous) of an author whose own 
date is known with tolerable precision, is not always or necessarily easy: witness the contro- 
versies as to the succession of St. Paul’s epistles. To do this in the case of an author whose 
own date is itself a matter of controversy may therefore be reasonably expected to be still 
less so; and such is the predicament of him who attempts to perform this task for Tertullian. 
I propose to give a specimen or two of the difficulties with which the task is beset; and then 
to lay before the reader briefly a summary of the results at which eminent scholars, who 


many victories? This know Marcion and Apelles, Praxeas and Hermogenes, Jews, Gentiles, Gnostics, and divers 
others, whose blasphemous opinions he hath overthrown with his many and great volumes, as it had been 
thunderbolts. And yet this man after all, this Tertullian, not retaining the Catholic doctrine — that is, the old 
faith — hath discredited with his later error his worthy writings,” etc. — Chap. xxiv. (Oxford trans. chap, xviii.) 
24 Neander’s introduction to his Antignostikus should be read in connection with this topic. He powerfully 
delineates the disposition of Tertullian and the character of Montanism, and attributes his secession to that sect 
not to outward causes, but to “his internal congeniality of mind.” But, inasmuch as a man’s subjective develop- 
ment is very much guided by circumstances, it is not necessary, in agreeing with Neander, to disbelieve some 
such account as Jerome has given us of Tertullian (Neander’s Antignostikus , etc. Bohn’s trans., vol. ii. pp. 
200-207). 


12 



Introductory Note. 


have devoted much time and thought to the subject, have arrived. Such a course, I think, 
will at once afford him means of judging of the absolute impossibility of arriving at definite 
certainty in the matter; and induce him to excuse me if I prefer furnishing him with mater- 
ials from which to deduce his own conclusions, rather than venturing on an ex cathedra 
decision on so doubtful a subject. 

1. The book, as Dr. Holmes has reminded us, of the date of which we seem to have 
the surest evidence, is Adv. Marc. i. This book was in course of writing, as its author himself 
(c. 15) tells us, “in the fifteenth year of the empire of Severus.” Now this date would be clear 
if there were no doubt as to which year of our era corresponds to Tertullian’s fifteenth of 
Severus. Pamelius, however, says Dr. Holmes, makes it a.d. 208; Clinton, (whose authority 
is more recent and better,) 207. 

2. Another book which promises to give some clue to its date is the de Pallio. The 
writer uses these phrases: “praesentis imperii triplex virtus;” “Deo tot Augustis in unum 
favente;” which show that there were at the time three persons unitedly bearing the title 
Augusti — not Ccesares only, but the still higher A ugusti; — while the remainder ofthat context, 
as well as the opening of c. 1, indicates a time of peace of some considerable duration; a time 
of plenty; and a time during and previous to which great changes had taken place in the 
general aspect of the Roman Empire, and some particular traitor had been discovered and 
frustrated. Such a combination of circumstances might seem to fix the date with some degree 
of assurance. But unhappily, as Kaye reminds us, commentators cannot agree as to who 
the three Augusti are. Some say Severus, Caracalla, and Albinus; some say Severus, Caracalla, 
and Geta. Hence we have a difference of some twelve years or thereabouts in the computa- 
tions. For Albinus was defeated by Severus in person, and fell by his own hand, in a.d. 197; 
and Geta, Severus’ second son, brother of Caracalla, was not associated by his father with 
himself and his other son as Augustus until a.d. 208, though he had received the title of 

90 

Caesar ten years before, in the same year in which Caracalla had received that of Augustus. 
For my own part, I may perhaps be allowed to say that I should incline to agree, like Salmasi- 
us, with those who assign the later date. The limits of the present Introduction forbid my 
entering at large into my reasons for so doing. I am, however, supported in it by the authority 
of Neander. In one point, though, I should hesitate to agree with Oehler, who appears to 
follow Salmasius and others herein, — namely, in understanding the expression “et cacto et 
rubo subdolae familiaritatis convulso” of Albinus. It seems to me the words might with more 


25 Introductory Notice to the Anti-Marcion, pp. xiii., xiv. 

26 In the end of Chapter Second. 

27 Ecd. Hist. Must, from Tertullian’s Writings, p. 36 sqq. (ed. 3, Lond. 1845). 

28 See Kaye, as above. 

29 Antignostikus, p. 424 (Bohn’s tr., ed. 1851). 


13 



Introductory Note. 


propriety be applied to Plautianus-, and that in the word “familiaritatis” we may see (after 
Tertullian’s fashion) a play upon the meaning, with a reference not only to the long-standing 
but mischievous intimacy which existed between Severus and his countryman (perhaps 
fellow-townsman) Plautianus, who for his harshness and cruelty is fitly compared to the 
prickly cactus. He alludes likewise to the alliance which this ambitious praetorian praefect 
had contrived to contract with the family of the emperor, by the marriage of his daughter 
Plautilla to Caracalla, — an event which, as it turned out, led to his own death. Thus in the 
“rubo” there maybe a reference to the ambitious and conceited “bramble” of Jotham’s par- 

on o i 

able, and perhaps, too, to the “thistle” of Jehoash’s. If this be so, the date would be at 
least approximately fixed, as Plautianus did not marry his daughter to Caracalla till a.d. 203, 
and was himself put to death in the following year, 204, while Geta, as we have seen, was 
made Augustus in 208. 

3. The date of the Apology, however, is perhaps at once the most contested, and the most 
strikingly illustrative of the difficulties to which allusion has been made. It is not surprising 
that its date should have been more disputed than that of other pieces, inasmuch as it is the 
best known, and (for some reasons) the most interesting and famous, of all our author’s 
productions. In fact, the dates assigned to it by different authorities vary from Mosheim’s 

on 

198 to that suggested by the very learned Allix, who assigns it to 217. 

4. Once more. In the tract de Monogamia (c. 3) the author says that since the date of 
St. Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians “about 160 years had elapsed.” Here, again, did we 
only know with certainty the precise date of that epistle, we could ascertain “about” the date 
of the tract. But (a) the date of the epistle is itself variously given, Burton giving it as early 
as a.d. 52, Michaelis and Mill as late as 57; and (b) Tertullian only says, “Armis circiter clx. 
exinde productis;” while the way in which, in the ad Natt., within the short space of three 

o o 

chapters, he states first' ' that 250, and then (in c. 9) that 300, years had not elapsed since 
the rise of the Christian name, leads us to think that here again 34 he only desires to speak 
in round numbers, meaning perhaps more than 150, but less than 170. 



30 See Judg. ix. 2 sqq. 

31 See 2 Kings (4 Kings in LXX. and Vulg.) xiv. 9. 

32 Here, again, our limits forbid a discussion; but the allusion to the Rhone having “scarcely yet lost the stain 
of blood” which we find in the ad. Natt. i. 17, compared with Apol. 35, seems to favour the idea of those who 
date the ad. Natt. earlier than the Apology, and consider the latter as a kind of new edition of the former: while 
it would fix the date of the ad. Natt. as not certainly earlier than 197, in which year (as we have seen) Albinus 
died. The fatal battle took place on the banks of the Rhone. 

33 In c. 7. 

34 Viz. in the de Monog. 


14 


Introductory Note. 


These specimens must suffice, though it might be easy to add to them. There is, however, 
another classification of our author’s writings which has been attempted. Finding the hap- 
lessness of strict chronological accuracy, commentators have seized on the idea that perad- 
venture there might be found at all events some internal marks by which to determine which 
of them were written before, which after, the writer’s secession to Montanism. It may be 
confessed that this attempt has been somewhat more successful than the other. Yet even 
here there are two formidable obstacles standing in our way. The first and greatest is, that 
the natural temper of Tertullian was from the first so akin to the spirit of Montanism, that, 
unless there occur distinct allusions to the “New Prophecy,” or expressions specially connec- 
ted with Montanistic phraseology, the general tone of any treatise is not a very safe guide. 
The second is, that the subject-matter of some of the treatises is not such as to afford much 
scope for the introduction of the peculiarities of a sect which professed to differ in discipline 
only, not doctrine, from the church at large. 

Still the result of this classification seems to show one important feature of agreement 
between commentators, however they may differ upon details; and that is, that considerably 

o r 

the larger part of our author’s rather voluminous productions must have been subsequent 
to his lamented secession. I think the best way to give the reader means for forming his own 
judgment will be, as I have said, to lay before him in parallel columns a tabular view of the 
disposition of the books by Dr. Neander and Bishop Kaye. These two modern writers, having 
given particular care to the subject, bringing to bear upon it all the advantages derived from 
wide reading, eminent abilities, and a diligent study of the works of preceding writers on 
the same questions, have a special right to be heard upon the matter in hand; and I think, 
if I may be allowed to say so, that, for calm judgment, and minute acquaintance with his 
author, I shall not be accused of undue partiality if I express my opinion that, as far as my 
own observation goes, the palm must be awarded to the Bishop. In this view I am supported 
by the fact that the accomplished Professor Ramsay, follows Dr. Kaye’s arrangement. I 
premise that Dr. Neander adopts a threefold division, into: 

1 . Writings which were occasioned by the relation of the Christians to the heathen, and 
refer to their vindication of Christianity against the heathen; attacks on heathenism; the 
sufferings and conduct of Christians under persecution; and the intercourse of Christians 
with heathens: 

2. Writings which relate to Christian and church life, and to ecclesiastical discipline: 

3. The dogmatic and dogmatico- controversial treatises. 


35 It looks strange to see Tertullian’s works referred to as consisting of “about thirty short treatises” in Mur- 
dock’s note on Moshiem. See the ed. of the Eccl. Hist, by Dr. J. Seaton Reid, p. 65, n. 2, Lond. and Bel. 1852. 

36 This last qualification is very specially observable in Dr. Kaye. 

37 In his article on Tertullian in Smith’s Diet. ofBiog. and Myth. 


15 


Introductory Note. 


And under each head he subdivides into: 
a. Pre-Montanist writings; b. Post-Montanist writings: 

thus leaving no room for what Kaye calls “works respecting which nothing certain can 
be pronounced.” For the sake of clearness, this order has not been followed in the table. On 
the other side, it will be seen that Dr. Kaye, while not assuming to speak with more than a 
reasonable probability, is careful so to arrange the treatises under each head as to show the 
order, so far as it is discoverable, in which the books under that head were published; i.e., 
if one book is quoted in another book, the book so quoted, if distinctly referred to as already 
before the world, is plainly anterior to that in which it is quoted. Thus, then, have: 

Neander. 

1. Pre-Montanist. 

1 . De Poenitentia. 

2. De Oratione. 

3. De Baptismo. 

4. Ad Uxorem i. 

5. Ad Uxorem ii. 

6. Ad Martyres. 

7. De Patientia. 

8. De Spectaculis. 

9. De Idololatria. 

10. 11. Ad Nationes i. ii. 

12. Apologeticus. 

13. De Testimonio Animae. 

14. De Praescr. Haereticorum. 

15. De Cult. Fern. i. 

16. De Cult. Fern. ii. 

II. Montanist. 

17-21. Adv. Marc. i. ii. iii. iv. v. 

22. De Anima. 

23. De Carne Christi. 

24. De Res. Carn. 

25. De Cor. Mil. 

26. De Virg. Vel. 

27. De Ex. Cast. 

28. De Monog. 

29. De Jejuniis. 

30. De Pudicitia. 

31. De Pallio. 



16 



Introductory Note. 


32. Scorpiace. 

33. Ad Scapulam. 

34. Adv. Valentinianos. 

35. Adv. Hermogenem. 

36. Adv. Praxeam. 

37. Adv. Judaeos. 

38. De Fuga in Persecutione. 

Kaye. 

I. Pre-Montanist (probably). 

I. De Poenitentia. 38 

2. De Oratione. 

3. De Baptismo. 

4. Ad Uxorem i. 

5. Ad Uxorem ii. 

6. Ad Martyres. 

7. De Patientia. 

8. Adv. Judaeos. 

39 

9. De Praescr. Haereticorum. 

II. Montanist (certainly). 

10. Adv. Marc. i. 

I I . Adv. Marc, ii. 40 

12. De Anima. 41 

13. Adv. Marc. iii. 

14. Adv. Marc, iv. 42 

15. De Carne Christi. 43 


38 Referred to apparently in de Pudic. ad init.-Tr. 

39 The de Prcescr. is ref. to in adv. Marc, i.; adv Prax. 2; de Carne Christi, 2; adv. Hermog. 1. 

40 Ref. to in deRes. Cam. 2, 14; Scorp. 5; de Anima, 21. The only mark, as the learned Bishop’s remarks imply, 
for fixing the date of publication as Montanistic, is the fact that Tertullian alludes, in the opening sentences, to 
B. i. Hence B. ii. could not, in its present form, have appeared till after B. i. Now B. i. contains evident marks of 
Montanism: see the last chapter, for instance. But the writer speaks (in the same passage) of B. ii. as being the 
treatise, the ill fate of which in its unfinished condition he there relates — at least such seems the legitimate sense 
of his words — now remodelled. Hence, when originally written, it may not have been Montanistic. — Tr. 

41 Ref. to in de Res. Cam. 2, 17, 45; comp. cc. 18, 21. 

42 Ref. to in de Cam. Chr. 7. 

43 Ref. to in de Res. Cam. 2. 


17 



Introductory Note. 


16. De Resurrectione Carnis. 44 

17. Adv. Marc. v. 

18. Adv. Praxeam. 

19. Scorpiace. 45 

20. De Corona Militis. 

21. De Virginibus Velandis. 

22. De Exhortatione Castitatis. 

23. De Fuga in Persecutione. 

24. De Monogamia. 46 

25. De Jejuniis. 

26. De Pudicitia. 

III. Montanist (probably). 

27. Adv. Valentinianos. 

28. Ad Scapulam. 

29. De Spectaculis. 47 

30. De Idololatria. 

31. De Cultu Feminarum i. 

32. De Cultu Feminarum ii. 

IV. Works respecting which nothing certain can be pronounced. 

33. The Apology. 48 


44 See the beginning and end of the de Came Christi. — Tr. Ref. to in adv. Marc. v. 10. 

45 In c. 4 Tertullian speaks as if he had already refuted all the heretics. 

46 Ref. to in de Jej. c. 1. 

47 Ref. to in de Idolol. 13; in de Cult. Fern. i. 8. In the de Cor. 6 is a reference to the Greek tract de Spectaculis 
by our author. 

48 Archdeacon Evans, in his Biography of the Early Church (in the Theological Library), suggests that the 
success which the Apology met with, or at least the fame it brought its author, may have been the occasion of 
Tertullian’s visit to Rome. He rejects entirely the supposition that Tertullian was a presbyter of the Roman 
church; nor does he think Eusebius’ words, teat rtov paAiara etti 'Pu>pr|<; Aapjtpwv ( Eccl . Hist. ii. 2. 47 ad fin., 
48 ad init.), sufficiently plain to be relied on. One thing does seem pretty plain, that the rendering of them which 
Rufinus gives, and Valesius follows, “inter nostros” (sc. Latinos) “Scriptores admodum clarus,” cannot be correct. 
That we find a famous Roman lawyer Tertullianus, or Tertyllianus, among the writers fragments of whom are 
preserved in the Pandects, Neander reminds us; but (as he says) it by no means follows, even if it could be proved 
that the date of the said lawyer corresponded with the supposed date of our Tertullian, that they were identical. 
Still it is worth bearing in mind, especially as a similarity of language exists, or has been thought to exist, between 
the jurist and the Christian author. And the juridical language and tone of our author do seem to point to his 
having — though Mr. Evans regards that as doubtful — been a trained lawyer. — Tr. 


18 



Introductory Note. 


34. Ad Nationes i. 

35. Ad Nationes ii. 

36. De Testimonio Animae. 

37. De Pallio. 

38. Adv. Hermogenem. 

A comparison of these two lists will show that the difference between the two great au- 
thorities is, as Kaye remarks, “not great; and with respect to some of the tracts on which we 
differ, the learned author expresses himself with great diffidence.” 49 The main difference, 
in fact, is that which affects two tracts upon kindred subjects, the de Spectaculis, and Idololat- 
ria, the de Cultu Feminarum (a subject akin to the other two), and the adv. Judceos. With 
reference to all these, except the last, to which I believe the Archdeacon does not once refer, 
the Bishop’s opinion appears to have the support of Archdeacon Evans, whose learned and 
interesting essay, referred to in the note, appears in a volume published in 1837. Dr. Kaye’s 
Lectures, on which his book is founded, were delivered in 1825. Of the date of his first edition 
I am not aware. Dr. Neander’s Antignostikus also first appeared in 1825. The preface to his 
second edition bears date July 1, 1849 50 . As to the adv. Judceos, I confess I agree with Neander 
in thinking that, at all events from the beginning of c. 9, it is spurious. If it be urged that 
Jerome expressly quotes it as Tertullian’s, I reply, Jerome so quotes it, I believe, when he is 
expounding Daniel. Now all that the adv. Jud. has to say about Daniel ends with the end of 
c. 8. It is therefore quite compatible with the fact thus stated to recognize the earlier half of 
the book as genuine, and to reject the rest, beginning, as it happens, just after the eighth 
chapter, as spurious. Perhaps Dr. Neander’s Jewish birth and training peculiarly fit him to 
be heard on this question. Nor do I think Professor Ramsay (in the article above alluded to) 
has quite seen the force of Kaye’s own remarks on Neander. 51 What he does say is equally 
creditable to his candour and his accuracy; namely: “The instances alleged by Dr. Neander, 
in proof of this position, are undoubtedly very remarkable; but if the concluding chapters 
of the tract are spurious, no ground seems to be left for asserting that the genuine portion 

n 

was posterior to the third Book against Marcion, — and none, consequently, for asserting 
that it was written by a Montanist.” With which remark I must draw these observations on 
the genuine extant works of Tertullian to a close. 

The next point to which a brief reference must be made is the lost works of Tertullian, 
lists of these are given both by Oehler and by Kaye, viz.: 



49 Kaye, as above. Pref. to 2d ed. pp. xxi. xxii. incorporated in the 3d ed., which I always quote. 

50 i.e., four years after Kaye’s third. 

51 See Pref. 2d ed. p. xix. n. 9. 

52 It being from that book that the quotations are taken which make up the remainder of the tract, as Semler, 
worthless as his theories are, has well shown. 


19 



Introductory Note. 


1. A Book on Aaron’s Robes: mentioned by Jerome, Epist. 128, ad Fabiolam de Veste 
Sacerdotali (tom. ii. p. 586, Opp. ed. Bened.). 

2. A Book on the Superstition of the Age. 

3. A Book on the Submission of the Soul. 

4. A Book on the Flesh and the Soul. 

Nos. 2, 3, and 4 are known only by their titles, which are found in the Index to Tertullian’s 
works given in the Codex Agobar dr, but the tracts themselves are not extant in the ms., which 
appears to have once contained — 

5. A Book on Paradise, named in the Index, and referred to in de Anima 55, adv. Marc. 
iii. 12; and 

6. A Book on the Hope of the Faithful: also named in the Index, and referred to adv. 
Marc. iii. 24; and by Jerome in his account of Papias, 54 and on Ezek. xxxvi.; 55 and by Gen- 
nadius of Marseilles. 56 

cn co 

7. Six Books on Ecstasy, with a seventh in reply to Apollonius: see Jerome. See, too, 

J. A. Fabricius on the words of the unknown author whom the Jesuit Sirmond edited under 
the name Prcedestinatus; who gathers thence that “Soter, pope of the City, 59 and Apollonius, 
bishop 60 of the Ephesians, wrote a book against the Montanists; in reply to whom Tertullian, 
a Carthaginian presbyter, wrote.” J. Pamelius thinks these seven books were originally 
published in Greek. 

8. A Book in reply to the Apellesites (i.e. the followers of Apelles 61 ): referred to in de 
Came Christi, c. 8. 

zr 'j 

9. A Book on the Origin of the Soul, in reply to Hermogenes: referred to in de Anima, 
cc. 1, 3, 22, 24. 

10. A Book on Fate: referred to by Fulgentius Planciades, p. 562, Merc.; also referred to 
as either written, or intended to be written, by Tertullian himself, de Anima, c. 20. Jerome 


53 “Saeculi” or “of the world,” or perhaps “of heathenism.” 

54 Catal. Scrippt. Eccles. c. 18. 

55 P. 952, tom. iii. Opp. ed. Bened. 

56 De Ecclesice dogmatibus, c. 55. 

57 Referred to in Adv. Marc. iv. 22. So Kaye thinks; but perhaps the reference is doubtful. See, however, the 
passage in Dr. Holmes’ translation in the present series, with his note thereon. 

58 De Scriptt. Eccles. 53, 24, 40. 

59 i.e., Rome. 

60 Antistes. 

61 A Marcionite at one time: he subsequently set up a sect of his own. He is mentioned in the adv. omn. Hcer. 
c. 6. 

62 Censu. 

63 Catal. Scrippt. Eccles. c. 58. 


20 


Introductory Note. 


states that there was extant, or had been extant, a book on Fate under the name of Minucius 
Felix, written indeed by a perspicuous author, but not in the style of Minucius Felix. This, 
Pamelius judged, should perhaps be rather ascribed to Tertullian. 

11. A Book on the Trinity. Jerome 64 says: “Novatian wrote. ...a large volume on the 
Trinity, as if making an epitome of a work of Tertullian s, which most men not knowing regard 
it as Cyprian’s .” Novatian’s book stood in Tertullian’s name in the mss. of J. Gangneius, 
who was the first to edit it; in a Malmesbury ms. which Sig. Gelenius used; and in others. 

12. A Book addressed to a Philosophic Friend on the Straits of Matrimony. Both Kaye 
and Oehler 65 are in doubt whether Jerome’s words, 66 by which some have been led to con- 
clude that Tertullian wrote some book or books on this and kindred subjects, really imply 
as much, or whether they may not refer merely to those tracts and passages in his extant 
writings which touch upon such matters. Kaye hesitates to think that the “Book to a Philo- 
sophic Friend” is the same as the de Exhortatione Castitatis, because Jerome says Tertullian 
wrote on the subject of celibacy “in his youth;” but as Cave takes what Jerome elsewhere 
says of Tertullian’s leaving the Church “about the middle of his age” to mean his spiritual 
age, the same sense might attach to his words here too, and thus obviate the Bishop’s diffi- 
culty. 

There are some other works which have been attributed to Tertullian — on Circumcision; 
on Animals Clean and Unclean; on the truth that God is a Judge — which Oehler likewise 
rejects, believing that the expressions of Jerome refer only to passages in the Anti-Marcion 

fn 

and other extant works. T o Novatian Jerome does ascribe a distinct work on Circumcision, 
and this may (comp. 11, just above) have given rise to the view that Tertullian had written 
one also. 

There were, moreover, three treatises at least written by Tertullian in Greek. They are: 

1. A Book on Public Shows. See de Cor. c. 6. 

2. A Book on Baptism. See de Bapt. c. 15. 

3. A Book on the Veiling of Virgins. See de V. V. c. 1. 

Oehler adds that J. Pamelius, in his epistle dedicatory to Philip II. of Spain, makes 
mention of a Greek copy of Tertullian in the library of that king. This report, however, since 
nothing has ever been seen or heard of the said copy from that time, Oehler judges to be 

/TO 

erroneous. 



64 Catal. Scrippt. Ecdes. c. 70. 

65 Oehler speaks more decidedly than Kaye. 

66 Epist. ad Eustochium de Custodia Virginitatis, p. 37, tom. iv. Opp. ed. Bened.; adv. Jovin. i. p. 157, tom. iv. 
Opp. ed. Bened. 

67 In the Catal. Scrippt. Eccles. 

68 “Mendacem” is his word. I know not whether he intends to charge Pamelius with wilful fraud. 


21 



Introductory Note. 


It remains briefly to notice the confessedly spurious works which the editions of Tertul- 
lian generally have appended to them. With these Kaye does not deal. The fragment, adv. 
omnes Hcereses, Oehler attributes to Victorinus Petavionensis, i.e., Victorinus bishop of 
Pettaw, on the Drave, in Austrian Styria. It was once thought he ought to be called Pictavi- 
ensis, i.e. of Poictiers; but John Launoy 69 has shown this to be an error. Victorinus is said 
by Jerome to have “understood Greek better than Latin; hence his works are excellent for 
the sense, but mean as to the style.” Cave believes him to have been a Greek by birth. 
Cassiodorus states him to have been once a professor of rhetoric. Jerome’s statement 
agrees with the style of the tract in question; and Jerome distinctly says Victorinus did write 
adversus omnes Hcereses. Allix leaves the question of its authorship quite uncertain. If Vic- 
torinus be the author, the book falls clearly within the Ante-Nicene period; for Victorinus 
fell a martyr in the Diocletian persecution, probably about a.d. 303. 

The next fragment — “Of the Execrable Gods of the Heathens” — is of quite uncertain 
authorship. Oehler would attribute it “to some declaimer not quite ignorant of Tertullian’s 
writings,” but certainly not to Tertullian himself. 

Lastly we come to the metrical fragments. Concerning these, it is perhaps impossible 
to assign them to their rightful owners. Oehler has not troubled himself much about them; 
but he seems to regard the Jonah as worthy of more regard than the rest, for he seems to 
have intended giving more labour to its editing at some future time. Whether he has ever 
done so, or given us his German version of Tertullian’s own works, which, “si Deus adjuv- 
erit,” he distinctly promises in his preface, I do not know. Perhaps the best thing to be done 
under the circumstances is to give the judgment of the learned Peter Allix. It may be premised 
that by the celebrated George Fabricius " — who published his great work, Poetarum Veterum 
Ecclesiasticorum Opera Christiana, etc., in 1564 — the Five Books in Reply to Marcion, and 
the Judgment of the Lord, are ascribed to Tertullian, the Genesis and Sodom to Cyprian. 
Pamelius likewise seems to have ascribed the Five Books, the Jonah, and the Sodom ~ to 
Tertullian; and according to Lardner, Bishop Bull likewise attributed the Five Books to him. 74 
They have been generally ascribed to the Victorinus above mentioned. Tillemont, among 

nr 

others, thinks they may well enough be his. Rigaltius is content to demonstrate that they 


69 Doctor of the Sorbonne, said by Bossuet to have proved himself “a semi-Pelagian and Jansenist!” born in 
1603, in Normandy, died in 1678. 

70 Jer. de Vir. Illust. c. 74. 

71 B. 470, d. 560. 

72 He must not be confounded with the still more famous John Albert Fabricius of the next century, referred 
to in p. xv. above. 

73 Whole of these metrical fragments. 

74 Lardner, Credibility, vol. iii. p. 169, under “Victorinus of Pettaw,” ed. Kippis, Lond. 1838. 

75 See Lardner, as above. 


22 



Introductory Note. 


are not Tertullian’s, but leaves the real authorship without attempting to decide it. Of the 
others the same eminent critic says, “They seem to have been written at Carthage, at an age 
not far removed from Tertullian’s.” Allix, after observing that Pamelius is inconsistent 
with himself in attributing the Genesis and Sodom at one time to Tertullian, at another to 
Cyprian, rejects both views equally, and assigns the Genesis with some confidence to Salvian, 
a presbyter of Marseilles, whose “floruit” Cave gives cir. 440, a contemporary of Gennadius, 
and a copious author. To this it is, Allix thinks, that Gennadius alludes in his Catalogue of 
Illustrious Men, c. 77. 

The Judgment of the Lord Allix ascribes to one Verecundus, an African bishop, whose 
date he finds it difficult to decide exactly. He refers to two ofthe name: one Bishop of Tunis, 
whom Victor of Tunis in his chronicle mentions as having died in exile at Chalcedon a.d. 
552; the other Bishop of Noba, who visited Carthage with many others a.d. 482, at the 
summons of King Huneric, to answer there for their faith; — and would ascribe the poem 
to the former, thinking that he finds an allusion to it in the article upon that Verecundus in 
the de Viris Illustribus of Isidore of Seville. Oehler agrees with him. The Five Books Allix 
seems to hint may be attributed to some imitator of the Victorinus of Pettaw named above. 
Oehler attributes them rather to one Victorinus, or Victor, of Marseilles, a rhetorician, who 
died a.d. 450. He appears in G. Fabricius as Claudius Marius Victorinus, writer of a Com- 
mentary on Genesis, and an epistle ad Salomonem Abbata, both in verse, and of some con- 
siderable length. 



76 See Migne, who prefixes this judgment of Rig. to the de Judicio Domini. 


23 



Apology. 


I. 

Apology. 

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall, Late Scholar of Christ’s College, 

Cantab.] 


THE APOLOGY . 77 


Chapter I. 

Rulers of the Roman Empire, if, seated for the administration of justice on your lofty 
tribunal, under the gaze of every eye, and occupying there all but the highest position in the 
state, you may not openly inquire into and sift before the world the real truth in regard to 
the charges made against the Christians; if in this case alone you are afraid or ashamed to 
exercise your authority in making public inquiry with the carefulness which becomes justice; 
if, finally, the extreme severities inflicted on our people in recently private judgments, stand 
in the way of our being permitted to defend ourselves before you, you cannot surely forbid 

no 

the Truth to reach your ears by the secret pathway of a noiseless book. She has no appeals 
to make to you in regard of her condition, for that does not excite her wonder. She knows 
that she is but a sojourner on the earth, and that among strangers she naturally finds foes; 
and more than this, that her origin, her dwelling-place, her hope, her recompense, her 
honours, are above. One thing, meanwhile, she anxiously desires of earthly rulers — not to 
be condemned unknown. What harm can it do to the laws, supreme in their domain, to 
give her a hearing? Nay, for that part of it, will not their absolute supremacy be more con- 
spicuous in their condemning her, even after she has made her plea? But if, unheard, sentence 
is pronounced against her, besides the odium of an unjust deed, you will incur the merited 
suspicion of doing it with some idea that it is unjust, as not wishing to hear what you may 
not be able to hear and condemn. We lay this before you as the first ground on which we 
urge that your hatred to the name of Christian is unjust. And the very reason which seems 
to excuse this injustice (I mean ignorance) at once aggravates and convicts it. For what is 
there more unfair than to hate a thing of which you know nothing, even though it deserve 
to be hated? Hatred is only merited when it is known to be merited. But without that 


77 [GREAT DIVERSITY EXISTS AMONG THE CRITICS AS TO THE DATE OF THIS APOLOGY; SEE 
KAYE, PP. XVI. 48, 65. MOSHEIM SAYS, A.D. 198, KAYE A.D. 204.] 

78 Elucidation II. 


24 



Chapter I. 


knowledge, whence is its justice to be vindicated? for that is to be proved, not from the mere 
fact that an aversion exists, but from acquaintance with the subject. When men, then, give 
way to a dislike simply because they are entirely ignorant of the nature of the thing disliked, 
why may it not be precisely the very sort of thing they should not dislike? So we maintain 
that they are both ignorant while they hate us, and hate us unrighteously while they continue 
in ignorance, the one thing being the result of the other either way of it. The proof of their 
ignorance, at once condemning and excusing their injustice, is this, that those who once 
hated Christianity because they knew nothing about it, no sooner come to know it than they 
all lay down at once their enmity. From being its haters they become its disciples. By simply 
getting acquainted with it, they begin now to hate what they had formerly been, and to 
profess what they had formerly hated; and their numbers are as great as are laid to our 
charge. The outcry is that the State is filled with Christians — that they are in the fields, in 
the citadels, in the islands: they make lamentation, as for some calamity, that both sexes, 
every age and condition, even high rank, are passing over to the profession of the Christian 
faith; and yet for all, their minds are not awakened to the thought of some good they have 
failed to notice in it. They must not allow any truer suspicions to cross their minds; they 
have no desire to make closer trial. Here alone the curiosity of human nature slumbers. 
They like to be ignorant, though to others the knowledge has been bliss. Anacharsis reproved 
the rude venturing to criticise the cultured; how much more this judging of those who know, 
by men who are entirely ignorant, might he have denounced! Because they already dislike, 
they want to know no more. Thus they prejudge that of which they are ignorant to be such, 
that, if they came to know it, it could no longer be the object of their aversion; since, if inquiry 
finds nothing worthy of dislike, it is certainly proper to cease from an unjust dislike, while 
if its bad character comes plainly out, instead of the detestation entertained for it being thus 
diminished, a stronger reason for perseverance in that detestation is obtained, even under 
the authority of justice itself. But, says one, a thing is not good merely because multitudes 
go over to it; for how many have the bent of their nature towards whatever is bad! how many 
go astray into ways of error! It is undoubted. Yet a thing that is thoroughly evil, not even 
those whom it carries away venture to defend as good. Nature throws a veil either of fear 
or shame over all evil. For instance, you find that criminals are eager to conceal themselves, 
avoid appearing in public, are in trepidation when they are caught, deny their guilt, when 
they are accused; even when they are put to the rack, they do not easily or always confess; 
when there is no doubt about their condemnation, they grieve for what they have done. In 
their self-communings they admit their being impelled by sinful dispositions, but they lay 
the blame either on fate or on the stars. They are unwilling to acknowledge that the thing 
is theirs, because they own that it is wicked. But what is there like this in the Christian’s 
case? The only shame or regret he feels, is at not having been a Christian earlier. If he is 
pointed out, he glories in it; if he is accused, he offers no defence; interrogated, he makes 


25 



Chapter I. 


voluntary confession; condemned he renders thanks. What sort of evil thing is this, which 
wants all the ordinary peculiarities of evil — fear, shame, subterfuge, penitence, lamenting? 
What! is that a crime in which the criminal rejoices? to be accused of which is his ardent 
wish, to be punished for which is his felicity? You cannot call it madness, you who stand 
convicted of knowing nothing of the matter. 


26 



Chapter II. 


Chapter II. 

If, again, it is certain that we are the most wicked of men, why do you treat us so differ- 
ently from our fellows, that is, from other criminals, it being only fair that the same crime 
should get the same treatment? When the charges made against us are made against others, 
they are permitted to make use both of their own lips and of hired pleaders to show their 
innocence. They have full opportunity of answer and debate; in fact, it is against the law to 
condemn anybody undefended and unheard. Christians alone are forbidden to say anything 
in exculpation of themselves, in defence of the truth, to help the judge to a righteous decision; 
all that is cared about is having what the public hatred demands — the confession of the 
name, not examination of the charge: while in your ordinary judicial investigations, on a 
man’s confession of the crime of murder, or sacrilege, or incest, or treason, to take the points 
of which we are accused, you are not content to proceed at once to sentence, — you do not 
take that step till you thoroughly examine the circumstances of the confession — what is the 
real character of the deed, how often, where, in what way, when he has done it, who were 
privy to it, and who actually took part with him in it. Nothing like this is done in our case, 
though the falsehoods disseminated about us ought to have the same sifting, that it might 
be found how many murdered children each of us had tasted; how many incests each of us 
had shrouded in darkness; what cooks, what dogs had been witness of our deeds. Oh, how 
great the glory of the ruler who should bring to light some Christian who had devoured a 
hundred infants! But, instead of that, we find that even inquiry in regard to our case is for- 
bidden. For the younger Pliny, when he was ruler of a province, having condemned some 
Christians to death, and driven some from their stedfastness, being still annoyed by their 
great numbers, at last sought the advice of Trajan, the reigning emperor, as to what he 
was to do with the rest, explaining to his master that, except an obstinate disinclination to 
offer sacrifices, he found in the religious services nothing but meetings at early morning for 

on 

singing hymns to Christ and God, and sealing home their way of life by a united pledge 
to be faithful to their religion, forbidding murder, adultery, dishonesty, and other crimes. 
Upon this Trajan wrote back that Christians were by no means to be sought after; but if 
they were brought before him, they should be punished. O miserable deliverance, — under 
the necessities of the case, a self-contradiction! It forbids them to be sought after as innocent, 
and it commands them to be punished as guilty. It is at once merciful and cruel; it passes 
by, and it punishes. Why dost thou play a game of evasion upon thyself, O Judgment? If 
thou condemnest, why dost thou not also inquire. If thou does not inquire, why dost thou 
not also absolve? Military stations are distributed through all the provinces for tracking 


79 [For chronological dates in our author’s age, see Elucidation III. Tertullian places an interval of 1 15 years, 
6 months, and 15 days between Tiberius and Antoninus Pius. See Answer to the Jews, cap. vii. infra.] 

80 Another reading is “ut Deo,” as God. 


27 



Chapter II. 


robbers. Against traitors and public foes every man is a soldier; search is made even for their 
confederates and accessories. The Christian alone must not be sought, though he may be 
brought and accused before the judge; as if a search had any other end than that in view! 
And so you condemn the man for whom nobody wished a search to be made when he is 
presented to you, and who even now does not deserve punishment, I suppose, because of 
his guilt, but because, though forbidden to be sought, he was found. And then, too, you do 
not in that case deal with us in the ordinary way of judicial proceedings against offenders; 
for, in the case of others denying, you apply the torture to make them confess — Christians 
alone you torture, to make them deny; whereas, if we were guilty of any crime, we should 
be sure to deny it, and you with your tortures would force us to confession. Nor indeed 
should you hold that our crimes require no such investigation merely on the ground that 
you are convinced by our confession of the name that the deeds were done , — you who are 
daily wont, though you know well enough what murder is, none the less to extract from the 
confessed murderer a full account of how the crime was perpetrated. So that with all the 
greater perversity you act, when, holding our crimes proved by our confession of the name 
of Christ, you drive us by torture to fall from our confession, that, repudiating the name, 
we may in like manner repudiate also the crimes with which, from that same confession, 
you had assumed that we were chargeable. I suppose, though you believe us to be the worst 
of mankind, you do not wish us to perish. For thus, no doubt, you are in the habit of bidding 
the murderer deny, and of ordering the man guilty of sacrilege to the rack if he persevere 
in his acknowledgment! Is that the way of it? But if thus you do not deal with us as criminals, 
you declare us thereby innocent, when as innocent you are anxious that we do not persevere 
in a confession which you know will bring on us a condemnation of necessity, not of justice, 
at your hands. “I am a Christian,” the man cries out. He tells you what he is; you wish to 
hear from him what he is not. Occupying your place of authority to extort the truth, you 
do your utmost to get lies from us. “I am,” he says, “that which you ask me if I am. Why do 
you torture me to sin? I confess, and you put me to the rack. What would you do if I denied? 
Certainly you give no ready credence to others when they deny. When we deny, you believe 
at once. Let this perversity of yours lead you to suspect that there is some hidden power in 
the case under whose influence you act against the forms, against the nature of public justice, 
even against the very laws themselves. For, unless I am greatly mistaken, the laws enjoin 
offenders to be searched out, and not to be hidden away. They lay it down that persons who 
own a crime are to be condemned, not acquitted. The decrees of the senate, the commands 
of your chiefs, lay this clearly down. The power of which you are servants is a civil, not a 
tyrannical domination. Among tyrants, indeed, torments used to be inflicted even as pun- 
ishments: with you they are mitigated to a means of questioning alone. Keep to your law in 
these as necessary till confession is obtained; and if the torture is anticipated by confession, 
there will be no occasion for it: sentence should be passed; the criminal should be given over 


28 



Chapter II. 


to the penalty which is his due, not released. Accordingly, no one is eager for the acquittal 
of the guilty; it is not right to desire that, and so no one is ever compelled to deny. Well, you 
think the Christian a man of every crime, an enemy of the gods, of the emperor, of the laws, 
of good morals, of all nature; yet you compel him to deny, that you may acquit him, which 
without him denial you could not do. You play fast and loose with the laws. You wish him 
to deny his guilt, that you may, even against his will, bring him out blameless and free from 
all guilt in reference to the past! Whence is this strange perversity on your part? How is it 
you do not reflect that a spontaneous confession is greatly more worthy of credit than a 
compelled denial; or consider whether, when compelled to deny, a man’s denial may not 
be in good faith, and whether acquitted, he may not, then and there, as soon as the trial is 
over, laugh at your hostility, a Christian as much as ever? Seeing, then, that in everything 
you deal differently with us than with other criminals, bent upon the one object of taking 
from us our name (indeed, it is ours no more if we do what Christians never do), it is made 
perfectly clear that there is no crime of any kind in the case, but merely a name which a 
certain system, ever working against the truth, pursues with its enmity, doing this chiefly 
with the object of securing that men may have no desire to know for certain what they know 
for certain they are entirely ignorant of. Hence, too, it is that they believe about us things 
of which they have no proof, and they are disinclined to have them looked into, lest the 
charges, they would rather take on trust, are all proved to have no foundation, that the name 
so hostile to that rival power — its crimes presumed, not proved — maybe condemned simply 
on its own confession. So we are put to the torture if we confess, and we are punished if we 
persevere, and if we deny we are acquitted, because all the contention is about a name. Finally, 
why do you read out of your tablet-lists that such a man is a Christian? Why not also that 
he is a murderer? And if a Christian is a murderer, why not guilty, too, of incest, or any 
other vile thing you believe of us? In our case alone you are either ashamed or unwilling to 
mention the very names of our crimes — If to be called a “Christian” does not imply any 
crime, the name is surely very hateful, when that of itself is made a crime. 


29 



Chapter III. 


Chapter III. 

What are we to think of it, that most people so blindly knock their heads against the 
hatred of the Christian name; that when they bear favourable testimony to any one, they 
mingle with it abuse of the name he bears? “A good man,” says one, “is Gaius Seius, only 
that he is a Christian.” So another, “I am astonished that a wise man like Lucius should have 
suddenly become a Christian.” Nobody thinks it needful to consider whether Gaius is not 
good and Lucius wise, on this very account that he is a Christian; or a Christian, for the 
reason that he is wise and good. They praise what they know, they abuse what they are ig- 
norant of, and they inspire their knowledge with their ignorance; though in fairness you 
should rather judge of what is unknown from what is known, than what is known from 
what is unknown. Others, in the case of persons whom, before they took the name of 
Christian, they had known as loose, and vile, and wicked, put on them a brand from the 
very thing which they praise. In the blindness of their hatred, they fall foul of their own 
approving judgment! “What a woman she was! how wanton! how gay! What a youth he 
was! how profligate! how libidinous! — they have become Christians!” So the hated name is 
given to a reformation of character. Some even barter away their comforts for that hatred, 
content to bear injury, if they are kept free at home from the object of their bitter enmity. 
The wife, now chaste, the husband, now no longer jealous, casts out of his house; the son, 
now obedient, the father, who used to be so patient, disinherits; the servant, now faithful, 
the master, once so mild, commands away from his presence; it is a high offence for any 
one to be reformed by the detested name. Goodness is of less value than hatred of Christians. 
Well now, if there is this dislike of the name, what blame can you attach to names? What 
accusation can you bring against mere designations, save that something in the word sounds 
either barbarous, or unlucky, or scurrilous, or unchaste? But Christian, so far as the meaning 
of the word is concerned, is derived from anointing. Yes, and even when it is wrongly pro- 
nounced by you “Chrestianus” (for you do not even know accurately the name you hate), 
it comes from sweetness and benignity. You hate, therefore, in the guiltless, even a guiltless 
name. But the special ground of dislike to the sect is, that it bears the name of its Founder. 
Is there anything new in a religious sect getting for its followers a designation from its 
master? Are not the philosophers called from the founders of their systems — Platonists, 
Epicureans, Pythagoreans? Are not the Stoics and Academics so called also from the places 
in which they assembled and stationed themselves? and are not physicians named from 
Erasistratus, grammarians from Aristarchus, cooks even from Apicius? And yet the bearing 
of the name, transmitted from the original institutor with whatever he has instituted, offends 
no one. No doubt, if it is proved that the sect is a bad one, and so its founder bad as well, 
that will prove that the name is bad and deserves our aversion, in respect of the character 
both of the sect and its author. Before, therefore, taking up a dislike to the name, it behoved 
you to consider the sect in the author, or the author in the sect. But now, without any sifting 


30 



Chapter III. 


and knowledge of either, the mere name is made matter of accusation, the mere name is 
assailed, and a sound alone brings condemnation on a sect and its author both, while of 
both you are ignorant, because they have such and such a designation, not because they are 
convicted of anything wrong. 


31 



Chapter IV. 


Chapter IV. 

And so, having made these remarks as it were by way of preface, that I might show in 
its true colours the injustice of the public hatred against us, I shall now take my stand on 
the plea of our blamelessness; and I shall not only refute the things which are objected to 
us, but I shall also retort them on the objectors, that in this way all may know that Christians 
are free from the very crimes they are so well aware prevail among themselves, that they 
may at the same time be put to the blush for their accusations against us, — accusations I 
shall not say of the worst of men against the best, but now, as they will have it, against those 
who are only their fellows in sin. We shall reply to the accusation of all the various crimes 
we are said to be guilty of in secret, such as we find them committing in the light of day, 
and as being guilty of which we are held to be wicked, senseless, worthy of punishment, 
deserving of ridicule. But since, when our truth meets you successfully at all points, the au- 
thority of the laws as a last resort is set up against it, so that it is either said that their determ- 
inations are absolutely conclusive, or the necessity of obedience is, however unwillingly, 
preferred to the truth, I shall first, in this matter of the laws grapple with you as with their 
chosen protectors. Now first, when you sternly lay it down in your sentences, “It is not 
lawful for you to exist,” and with unhesitating rigour you enjoin this to be carried out, you 
exhibit the violence and unjust domination of mere tyranny, if you deny the thing to be 
lawful, simply on the ground that you wish it to be unlawful, not because it ought to be. But 
if you would have it unlawful because it ought not to be lawful, without doubt that should 
have no permission of law which does harm; and on this ground, in fact, it is already determ- 
ined that whatever is beneficial is legitimate. Well, if I have found what your law prohibits 
to be good, as one who has arrived at such a previous opinion, has it not lost its power to 
debar me from it, though that very thing, if it were evil, it would justly forbid to me? If your 
law has gone wrong, it is of human origin, I think; it has not fallen from heaven. Is it won- 
derful that man should err in making a law, or come to his senses in rejecting it? Did not 
the Lacedaemonians amend the laws of Lycurgus himself, thereby inflicting such pain on 
their author that he shut himself up, and doomed himself to death by starvation? Are you 
not yourselves every day, in your efforts to illumine the darkness of antiquity, cutting and 
hewing with the new axes of imperial rescripts and edicts, that whole ancient and rugged 
forest of your laws? Has not Severus, that most resolute of rulers, but yesterday repealed the 

o 1 

ridiculous Papian laws which compelled people to have children before the Julian laws 
allow matrimony to be contracted, and that though they have the authority of age upon 
their side? There were laws, too, in old times, that parties against whom a decision had been 
given might be cut in pieces by their creditors; however, by common consent that cruelty 


81 [A reference in which Kaye sees no reason to doubt that the Apology was written during the reign under 
the emperor. See Kaye’s Tertullian, p. 49.] 


32 



Chapter IV. 


was afterwards erased from the statutes, and the capital penalty turned into a brand of shame. 
By adopting the plan of confiscating a debtor’s goods, it was sought rather to pour the blood 
in blushes over his face than to pour it out. How many laws he hidden out of sight which 
still require to be reformed! For it is neither the number of their years nor the dignity of 
their maker that commends them, but simply that they are just; and therefore, when their 
injustice is recognized, they are deservedly condemned, even though they condemn. Why 
speak we of them as unjust? nay, if they punish mere names, we may well call them irrational. 
But if they punish acts, why in our case do they punish acts solely on the ground of a name, 
while in others they must have them proved not from the name, but from the wrong done? 
I am a practiser of incest (so they say); why do they not inquire into it? I am an infant-killer; 
why do they not apply the torture to get from me the truth? I am guilty of crimes against 
the gods, against the Caesars; why am I, who am able to clear myself, not allowed to be heard 
on my own behalf? No law forbids the sifting of the crimes which it prohibits, for a judge 
never inflicts a righteous vengeance if he is not well assured that a crime has been committed; 
nor does a citizen render a true subjection to the law, if he does not know the nature of the 
thing on which the punishment is inflicted. It is not enough that a law is just, nor that the 
judge should be convinced of its justice; those from whom obedience is expected should 
have that conviction too. Nay, a law lies under strong suspicions which does not care to 
have itself tried and approved: it is a positively wicked law, if, unproved, it tyrannizes over 
men. 


33 



Chapter V. 


Chapter V. 

To say a word about the origin of laws of the kind to which we now refer, there was an 
old decree that no god should be consecrated by the emperor till first approved by the senate. 
Marcus Aimilius had experience of this in reference to his god Alburnus. And this, too, 
makes for our case, that among you divinity is allotted at the judgment of human beings. 
Unless gods give satisfaction to men, there will be no deification for them: the god will have 
to propitiate the man. Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its 
entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which 
had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with 
his own decision in favour of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, 
rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of 
the Christians. Consult your histories; you will there find that Nero was the first who assailed 
with the imperial sword the Christian sect, making progress then especially at Rome. But 
we glory in having our condemnation hallowed by the hostility of such a wretch. For any 
one who knows him, can understand that not except as being of singular excellence did 
anything bring on it Nero’s condemnation. Domitian, too, a man of Nero’s type in cruelty, 
tried his hand at persecution; but as he had something of the human in him, he soon put 
an end to what he had begun, even restoring again those whom he had banished. Such as 
these have always been our persecutors, — men unjust, impious, base, of whom even you 
yourselves have no good to say, the sufferers under whose sentences you have been wont 
to restore. But among so many princes from that time to the present day, with anything of 
divine and human wisdom in them, point out a single persecutor of the Christian name. 
So far from that, we, on the contrary, bring before you one who was their protector, as you 
will see by examining the letters of Marcus Aurelius, that most grave of emperors, in which 
he bears his testimony that that Germanic drought was removed by the rains obtained 
through the prayers of the Christians who chanced to be fighting under him. And as he did 
not by public law remove from Christians their legal disabilities, yet in another way he put 
them openly aside, even adding a sentence of condemnation, and that of greater severity, 
against their accusers. What sort of laws are these which the impious alone execute against 
us — and the unjust, the vile, the bloody, the senseless, the insane? which Trajan to some 
extent made naught by forbidding Christians to be sought after; which neither a Hadrian, 
though fond of searching into all things strange and new, nor a Vespasian, though the sub- 
jugator of the Jews, nor a Pius, nor a Verus, ever enforced? It should surely be judged more 
natural for bad men to be eradicated by good princes as being their natural enemies, than 
by those of a spirit kindred with their own. 


82 [Elucidation IV.] 


34 



Chapter VI. 


Chapter VI. 

I would now have these most religious protectors and vindicators of the laws and insti- 
tutions of their fathers, tell me, in regard to their own fidelity and the honour, and submission 
they themselves show to ancestral institutions, if they have departed from nothing — if they 
have in nothing gone out of the old paths — if they have not put aside whatsoever is most 
useful and necessary as rules of a virtuous life. What has become of the laws repressing ex- 
pensive and ostentatious ways of living? which forbade more than a hundred asses to be 
expended on a supper, and more than one fowl to be set on the table at a time, and that not 
a fatted one; which expelled a patrician from the senate on the serious ground, as it was 
counted, of aspiring to be too great, because he had acquired ten pounds of silver; which 
put down the theatres as quickly as they arose to debauch the manners of the people; which 
did not permit the insignia of official dignities or of noble birth to be rashly or with impunity 
usurped? Fori see the Centenarian suppers must now bear the name, not from the hundred 

oo 

asses, but from the hundred sestertia expended on them; and that mines of silver are made 
into dishes (it were little if this applied only to senators, and not to freedmen or even mere 
whip-spoilers ). I see, too, that neither is a single theatre enough, nor are theatres un- 
sheltered: no doubt it was that immodest pleasure might not be torpid in the wintertime, 
the Lacedaemonians invented their woollen cloaks for the plays. I see now no difference 
between the dress of matrons and prostitutes. In regard to women, indeed, those laws of 
your fathers, which used to be such an encouragement to modesty and sobriety, have also 
fallen into desuetude, when a woman had yet known no gold upon her save on the finger, 
which, with the bridal ring, her husband had sacredly pledged to himself; when the abstinence 
of women from wine was carried so far, that a matron, for opening the compartments of a 
wine cellar, was starved to death by her friends, — while in the times of Romulus, for merely 
tasting wine, Mecenius killed his wife, and suffered nothing for the deed. With reference to 
this also, it was the custom of women to kiss their relatives, that they might be detected by 
their breath. Where is that happiness of married life, ever so desirable, which distinguished 
our earlier manners, and as the result of which for about 600 years there was not among us 
a single divorce? Now, women have every member of the body heavy laden with gold; wine- 
bibbing is so common among them, that the kiss is never offered with their will; and as for 
divorce, they long for it as though it were the natural consequence of marriage. The laws, 
too, your fathers in their wisdom had enacted concerning the very gods themselves, you 
their most loyal children have rescinded. The consuls, by the authority of the senate, banished 
Father Bacchus and his mysteries not merely from the city, but from the whole of Italy. The 
consuls Piso and Gabinius, no Christians surely, forbade Serapis, and Isis, and Arpocrates, 


83 As = 2-1/8 farthings. Sestertium = £7, 16s. 3d. 

84 Slaves still bearing the marks of the scourge. 


35 



Chapter VI. 


or 

with their dogheaded friend, admission into the Capitol — in the act casting them out from 
the assembly of the gods — overthrow their altars, and expelled them from the country, being 
anxious to prevent the vices of their base and lascivious religion from spreading. These, you 
have restored, and conferred highest honours on them. What has come to your religion — of 
the veneration due by you to your ancestors? In your dress, in your food, in your style of 
life, in your opinions, and last of all in your very speech, you have renounced your progen- 
itors. You are always praising antiquity, and yet every day you have novelties in your way 
of living. From your having failed to maintain what you should, you make it clear, that, 
while you abandon the good ways of your fathers, you retain and guard the things you ought 
not. Yet the very tradition of your fathers, which you still seem so faithfully to defend, and 
in which you find your principal matter of accusation against the Christians — I mean zeal 
in the worship of the gods, the point in which antiquity has mainly erred — although you 
have rebuilt the altars of Serapis, now a Roman deity, and to Bacchus, now become a god 
of Italy, you offer up your orgies, — I shall in its proper place show that you despise, neglect, 
and overthrow, casting entirely aside the authority of the men of old. I go on meantime to 
reply to that infamous charge of secret crimes, clearing my way to things of open day. 


85 Anubis. 


36 



Chapter VII. 


Chapter VII. 

Monsters of wickedness, we are accused of observing a holy rite in which we kill a little 
child and then eat it; in which, after the feast, we practise incest, the dogs — our pimps, for- 
sooth, overturning the lights and getting us the shamelessness of darkness for our impious 
lusts. This is what is constantly laid to our charge, and yet you take no pains to elicit the 
truth of what we have been so long accused. Either bring, then, the matter to the light of 
day if you believe it, or give it no credit as having never inquired into it. On the ground of 
your double dealing, we are entitled to lay it down to you that there is no reality in the thing 
which you dare not expiscate. You impose on the executioner, in the case of Christians, a 
duty the very opposite of expiscation: he is not to make them confess what they do, but to 
make them deny what they are. We date the origin of our religion, as we have mentioned 
before, from the reign of Tiberius. Truth and the hatred of truth come into our world togeth- 
er. As soon as truth appears, it is regarded as an enemy. It has as many foes as there are 
strangers to it: the Jews, as was to be looked for, from a spirit of rivalry; the soldiers, out of 
a desire to extort money; our very domestics, by their nature. We are daily beset by foes, we 
are daily betrayed; we are oftentimes surprised in our meetings and congregations. Whoever 
happened withal upon an infant wailing, according to the common story? Whoever kept 
for the judge, just as he had found them, the gory mouths of Cyclops and Sirens? Whoever 
found any traces of uncleanness in their wives? Where is the man who, when he had dis- 
covered such atrocities, concealed them; or, in the act of dragging the culprits before the 
judge, was bribed into silence? If we always keep our secrets, when were our proceedings 
made known to the world? Nay, by whom could they be made known? Not, surely, by the 
guilty parties themselves; even from the very idea of the thing, the fealty of silence being 
ever due to mysteries. The Samothracian and Eleusinian make no disclosures — how much 
more will silence be kept in regard to such as are sure, in their unveiling, to call forth pun- 
ishment from man at once, while wrath divine is kept in store for the future? If, then, 
Christians are not themselves the publishers of their crime, it follows of course it must be 
strangers. And whence have they their knowledge, when it is also a universal custom in 
religious initiations to keep the profane aloof, and to beware of witnesses, unless it be that 
those who are so wicked have less fear than their neighbors? Every one knows what sort of 
thing rumour is. It is one of your own sayings, that “among all evils, none flies so fast as 
rumour.” Why is rumour such an evil thing? Is it because it is fleet? Is it because it carries 
information? Or is it because it is in the highest degree mendacious? — a thing, not even 
when it brings some truth to us, without a taint of falsehood, either detracting, or adding, 
or changing from the simple fact? Nay more, it is the very law of its being to continue only 
while it lies, and to live but so long as there is no proof; for when the proof is given, it ceases 
to exist; and, as having done its work of merely spreading a report, it delivers up a fact, and 
is henceforth held to be a fact, and called a fact. And then no one says, for instance, “They 


37 



Chapter VII. 


say that it took place at Rome,” or, “There is a rumour that he has obtained a province,” 
but, “He has got a province,” and, “It took place at Rome.” Rumour, the very designation 
of uncertainty, has no place when a thing is certain. Does any but a fool put his trust in it? 
For a wise man never believes the dubious. Everybody knows, however zealously it is spread 
abroad, on whatever strength of asseveration it rests, that some time or other from some 
one fountain it has its origin. Thence it must creep into propagating tongues and ears; and 
a small seminal blemish so darkens all the rest of the story, that no one can determine 
whether the lips, from which it first came forth, planted the seed of falsehood, as often 
happens, from a spirit of opposition, or from a suspicious judgment, or from a confirmed, 
nay, in the case of some, an inborn, delight in lying. It is well that time brings all to light, as 
your proverbs and sayings testify, by a provision of Nature, which has so appointed things 
that nothing long is hidden, even though rumour has not disseminated it. It is just then as 
it should be, that fame for so long a period has been alone aware of the crimes of Christians. 
This is the witness you bring against us — one that has never been able to prove the accusation 
it some time or other sent abroad, and at last by mere continuance made into a settled 
opinion in the world; so that I confidently appeal to Nature herself, ever true, against those 
who groundlessly hold that such things are to be credited. 


38 



Chapter VIII. 


Chapter VIII. 

See now, we set before you the reward of these enormities. They give promise of eternal 
life. Hold it meanwhile as your own belief. I ask you, then, whether, so believing, you think 
it worth attaining with a conscience such as you will have. Come, plunge your knife into 
the babe, enemy of none, accused of none, child of all; or if that is another’s work, simply 
take your place beside a human being dying before he has really lived, await the departure 
of the lately given soul, receive the fresh young blood, saturate your bread with it, freely 
partake. The while as you recline at table, take note of the places which your mother and 
your sister occupy; mark them well, so that when the dog-made darkness has fallen on you, 
you may make no mistake, for you will be guilty of a crime — unless you perpetrate a deed 
of incest. Initiated and sealed into things like these, you have life everlasting. Tell me, I pray 
you, is eternity worth it? If it is not, then these things are not to be credited. Even although 
you had the belief, I deny the will; and even if you had the will, I deny the possibility. Why 
then can others do it, if you cannot? why cannot you, if others can? I suppose we are of a 

Q/r 

different nature — are we Cynopae or Sciapodes? You are a man yourself as well as the 
Christian: if you cannot do it, you ought not to believe it of others, for a Christian is a man 
as well as you. But the ignorant, forsooth, are deceived and imposed on. They were quite 
unaware of anything of the kind being imputed to Christians, or they would certainly have 
looked into it for themselves, and searched the matter out. Instead of that, it is the custom 
for persons wishing initiation into sacred rites, I think, to go first of all to the master of 
them, that he may explain what preparations are to be made. Then, in this case, no doubt 
he would say, “You must have a child still of tender age, that knows not what it is to die, 
and can smile under thy knife; bread, too, to collect the gushing blood; in addition to these, 
candlesticks, and lamps, and dogs — with tid-bits to draw them on to the extinguishing of 
the lights: above all things, you will require to bring your mother and your sister with you.” 
But what if mother and sister are unwilling? or if there be neither the one nor the other? 
What if there are Christians with no Christian relatives? He will not be counted, I suppose, 
a true follower of Christ, who has not a brother or a son. And what now, if these things are 
all in store for them without their knowledge? At least afterwards they come to know them; 
and they bear with them, and pardon them. They fear, it may be said, lest they have to pay 
for it if they let the secret out: nay, but they will rather in that case have every claim to pro- 
tection; they will even prefer, one might think, dying by their own hand, to living under the 
burden of such a dreadful knowledge. Admit that they have this fear; yet why do they still 
persevere? For it is plain enough that you will have no desire to continue what you would 
never have been, if you had had previous knowledge of it. 


86 Fabulous monsters. 


39 



Chapter IX. 


Chapter IX. 

That I may refute more thoroughly these charges, I will show that in part openly, in part 
secretly, practices prevail among you which have led you perhaps to credit similar things 
about us. Children were openly sacrificed in Africa to Saturn as lately as the proconsulship 
of Tiberius, who exposed to public gaze the priests suspended on the sacred trees overshad- 
owing their temple — so many crosses on which the punishment which justice craved overtook 
their crimes, as the soldiers of our country still can testify who did that very work for that 
proconsul. And even now that sacred crime still continues to be done in secret. It is not only 
Christians, you see, who despise you; for all that you do there is neither any crime thoroughly 
and abidingly eradicated, nor does any of your gods reform his ways. When Saturn did not 
spare his own children, he was not likely to spare the children of others; whom indeed the 
very parents themselves were in the habit of offering, gladly responding to the call which 
was made on them, and keeping the little ones pleased on the occasion, that they might not 
die in tears. At the same time, there is a vast difference between homicide and parricide. A 
more advanced age was sacrificed to Mercury in Gaul. I hand over the Tauric fables to their 
own theatres. Why, even in that most religious city of the pious descendants of Ameas, there 
is a certain Jupiter whom in their games they lave with human blood. It is the blood of a 
beast-fighter, you say. Is it less, because of that, the blood of a man? Or is it viler blood 
because it is from the veins of a wicked man? At any rate it is shed in murder. O Jove, thyself 
a Christian, and in truth only son of thy father in his cruelty! But in regard to child murder, 
as it does not matter whether it is committed for a sacred object, or merely at one’s own 
self-impulse — although there is a great difference, as we have said, between parricide and 
homicide — I shall turn to the people generally. How many, think you, of those crowding 
around and gaping for Christian blood, — how many even of your rulers, notable for their 
justice to you and for their severe measures against us, may I charge in their own consciences 
with the sin of putting their offspring to death? As to any difference in the kind of murder, 
it is certainly the more cruel way to kill by drowning, or by exposure to cold and hunger 
and dogs. A maturer age has always preferred death by the sword. In our case, murder being 
once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb, while as yet the 
human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a 
birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that 
is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; 
you have the fruit already in its seed. As to meals of blood and such tragic dishes, read — I 
am not sure where it is told (it is in Herodotus, I think) — how blood taken from the arms, 
and tasted by both parties, has been the treaty bond among some nations. I am not sure 
what it was that was tasted in the time of Catiline. They say, too, that among some Scythian 


87 [Another example of what Christianity was doing for man as man.] 


40 



Chapter IX. 


tribes the dead are eaten by their friends. But I am going far from home. At this day, among 
ourselves, blood consecrated to Bellona, blood drawn from a punctured thigh and then 
partaken of, seals initiation into the rites of that goddess. Those, too, who at the gladiator 
shows, for the cure of epilepsy, quaff with greedy thirst the blood of criminals slain in the 
arena, as it flows fresh from the wound, and then rush off — to whom do they belong? those, 
also, who make meals on the flesh of wild beasts at the place of combat — who have keen 
appetites for bear and stag? That bear in the struggle was bedewed with the blood of the 
man whom it lacerated: that stag rolled itself in the gladiator’s gore. The entrails of the very 
bears, loaded with as yet undigested human viscera, are in great request. And you have men 
rifting up man-fed flesh? If you partake of food like this, how do your repasts differ from 
those you accuse us Christians of? And do those, who, with savage lust, seize on human 
bodies, do less because they devour the living? Have they less the pollution of human blood 
on them because they only lick up what is to turn into blood? They make meals, it is plain, 
not so much of infants, as of grown-up men. Blush for your vile ways before the Christians, 
who have not even the blood of animals at their meals of simple and natural food; who abstain 
from things strangled and that die a natural death, for no other reason than that they may 
not contract pollution, so much as from blood secreted in the viscera. To clench the matter 
with a single example, you tempt Christians with sausages of blood, just because you are 
perfectly aware that the thing by which you thus try to get them to transgress they hold 

no 

unlawful. And how unreasonable it is to believe that those, of whom you are convinced 
that they regard with horror the idea of tasting the blood of oxen, are eager after blood of 
men; unless, mayhap, you have tried it, and found it sweeter to the taste! Nay, in fact, there 
is here a test you should apply to discover Christians, as well as the fire-pan and the censer. 
They should be proved by their appetite for human blood, as well as by their refusal to offer 
sacrifice; just as otherwise they should be affirmed to be free of Christianity by their refusal 
to taste of blood, as by their sacrificing; and there would be no want of blood of men, amply 
supplied as that would be in the trial and condemnation of prisoners. Then who are more 
given to the crime of incest than those who have enjoyed the instruction of Jupiter himself? 
Ctesias tells us that the Persians have illicit intercourse with their mothers. The Macedonians, 
too, are suspected on this point; for on first hearing the tragedy of CEdipus they made mirth 
of the incest-doer’s grief, exclaiming, 'rjAauvs etc; rf|V pqrepa. Even now reflect what oppor- 
tunity there is for mistakes leading to incestuous comminglings — your promiscuous looseness 
supplying the materials. You first of all expose your children, that they may be taken up by 
any compassionate passer-by, to whom they are quite unknown; or you give them away, to 
be adopted by those who will do better to them the part of parents. Well, some time or 
other, all memory of the alienated progeny must be lost; and when once a mistake has been 


88 [See Elucidation VII., p. 58, infra in connection with usages in cap. xxxix.] 


41 



Chapter IX. 


made, the transmission of incest thence will still go on — the race and the crime creeping on 
together. Then, further, wherever you are — at home, abroad, over the seas — your lust is an 
attendant, whose general indulgence, or even its indulgence in the most limited scale, may 
easily and unwittingly anywhere beget children, so that in this way a progeny scattered about 
in the commerce of life may have intercourse with those who are their own kin, and have 
no notion that there is any incest in the case. A persevering and stedfast chastity has protected 
us from anything like this: keeping as we do from adulteries and all post-matrimonial un- 
faithfulness, we are not exposed to incestuous mishaps. Some of us, making matters still 
more secure, beat away from them entirely the power of sensual sin, by a virgin continence, 
still boys in this respect when they are old. If you would but take notice that such sins as I 
have mentioned prevail among you, that would lead you to see that they have no existence 
among Christians. The same eyes would tell you of both facts. But the two blindnesses are 
apt to go together; so that those who do not see what is, think they see what is not. I shall 
show it to be so in everything. But now let me speak of matters which are more clear. 


42 



Chapter X. 


Chapter X. 

“You do not worship the gods,” you say; “and you do not offer sacrifices for the emper- 
ors.” Well, we do not offer sacrifice for others, for the same reason that we do not for 
ourselves, — namely, that your gods are not at all the objects of our worship. So we are accused 
of sacrilege and treason. This is the chief ground of charge against us — nay, it is the sum- 
total of our offending; and it is worthy then of being inquired into, if neither prejudice nor 
injustice be the judge, the one of which has no idea of discovering the truth, and the other 
simply and at once rejects it. We do not worship your gods, because we know that there are 
no such beings. This, therefore, is what you should do: you should call on us to demonstrate 
their non-existence, and thereby prove that they have no claim to adoration; for only if your 
gods were truly so, would there be any obligation to render divine homage to them. And 
punishment even were due to Christians, if it were made plain that those to whom they re- 
fused all worship were indeed divine. But you say, They are gods. We protest and appeal 
from yourselves to your knowledge; let that judge us; let that condemn us, if it can deny that 
all these gods of yours were but men. If even it venture to deny that, it will be confuted by 
its own books of antiquities, from which it has got its information about them, bearing 
witness to this day, as they plainly do, both of the cities in which they were born, and the 
countries in which they have left traces of their exploits, as well as where also they are proved 
to have been buried. Shall I now, therefore, go over them one by one, so numerous and so 
various, new and old, barbarian, Grecian, Roman, foreign, captive and adopted, private and 
common, male and female, rural and urban, naval and military? It were useless even to hunt 
out all their names: so I may content myself with a compend; and this not for your inform- 
ation, but that you may have what you know brought to your recollection, for undoubtedly 
you act as if you had forgotten all about them. No one of your gods is earlier than Saturn: 
from him you trace all your deities, even those of higher rank and better known. What, then, 
can be proved of the first, will apply to those that follow. So far, then, as books give us in- 
formation, neither the Greek Diodorus or Thallus, neither Cassius Severus or Cornelius 
Nepos, nor any writer upon sacred antiquities, have ventured to say that Saturn was any 
but a man: so far as the question depends on facts, I find none more trustworthy than those 
— that in Italy itself we have the country in which, after many expeditions, and after having 
partaken of Attic hospitalities, Saturn settled, obtaining cordial welcome from Janus, or, as 
the Salii will have it, Janis. The mountain on which he dwelt was called Saturnius; the city 
he founded is called Saturnia to this day; last of all, the whole of Italy, after having borne 
the name of Oenotria, was called Saturnia from him. He first gave you the art of writing, 
and a stamped coinage, and thence it is he presides over the public treasury. But if Saturn 
were a man, he had undoubtedly a human origin; and having a human origin, he was not 
the offspring of heaven and earth. As his parents were unknown, it was not unnatural that 
he should be spoken of as the son of those elements from which we might all seem to spring. 


43 



Chapter X. 


For who does not speak of heaven and earth as father and mother, in a sort of way of vener- 
ation and honour? or from the custom which prevails among us of saying that persons of 
whom we have no knowledge, or who make a sudden appearance, have fallen from the skies? 
In this way it came about that Saturn, everywhere a sudden and unlooked-for guest, got 
everywhere the name of the Heaven-born. For even the common folk call persons whose 
stock is unknown, sons of earth. I say nothing of how men in these rude times were wont 
to act, when they were impressed by the look of any stranger happening to appear among 
them, as though it were divine, since even at this day men of culture make gods of those 
whom, a day or two before, they acknowledged to be dead men by their public mourning 
for them. Let these notices of Saturn, brief as they are, suffice. It will thus also be proved 
that Jupiter is as certainly a man, as from a man he sprung; and that one after another the 
whole swarm is mortal like the primal stock. 


44 



Chapter XI. 


Chapter XI. 

And since, as you dare not deny that these deities of yours once were men, you have 
taken it on you to assert that they were made gods after their decease, let us consider what 
necessity there was for this. In the first place, you must concede the existence of one higher 
God — a certain wholesale dealer in divinity, who has made gods of men. For they could 
neither have assumed a divinity which was not theirs, nor could any but one himself pos- 
sessing it have conferred it on them. If there was no one to make gods, it is vain to dream 
of gods being made when thus you have no god-maker. Most certainly, if they could have 
deified themselves, with a higher state at their command, they never would have been men. 
If, then, there be one who is able to make gods, I turn back to an examination of any reason 
there may be for making gods at all; and I find no other reason than this, that the great God 
has need of their ministrations and aids in performing the offices of Deity. But first it is an 
unworthy idea that He should need the help of a man, and in fact a dead man, when, if He 
was to be in want of this assistance from the dead, He might more fittingly have created 
some one a god at the beginning. Nor do I see any place for his action. For this entire world- 
mass — whether self-existent and uncreated, as Pythagoras maintains, or brought into being 
by a creator’s hands, as Plato holds — was manifestly, once for all in its original construction, 
disposed, and furnished, and ordered, and supplied with a government of perfect wisdom. 
That cannot be imperfect which has made all perfect. There was nothing waiting on for 
Saturn and his race to do. Men will make fools of themselves if they refuse to believe that 
from the very first rain poured down from the sky, and stars gleamed, and light shone, and 
thunders roared, and Jove himself dreaded the lightnings you put in his hands; that in like 
manner before Bacchus, and Ceres, and Minerva, nay before the first man, whoever that 
was, every kind of fruit burst forth plentifully from the bosom of the earth, for nothing 
provided for the support and sustenance of man could be introduced after his entrance on 
the stage of being. Accordingly, these necessaries of life are said to have been discovered, 
not created. But the thing you discover existed before; and that which had a pre-existence 
must be regarded as belonging not to him who discovered it, but to him who made it, for 
of course it had a being before it could be found. But if, on account of his being the discoverer 
of the vine, Bacchus is raised to godship, Lucullus, who first introduced the cherry from 
Pontus into Italy, has not been fairly dealt with; for as the discoverer of a new fruit, he has 
not, as though he were its creator, been awarded divine honours. Wherefore, if the universe 
existed from the beginning, thoroughly furnished with its system working under certain 
laws for the performance of its functions, there is, in this respect, an entire absence of all 
reason for electing humanity to divinity; for the positions and powers which you have as- 
signed to your deities have been from the beginning precisely what they would have been, 
although you had never deified them. But you turn to another reason, telling us that the 


45 



Chapter XI. 


conferring of deity was a way of rewarding worth. And hence you grant, I conclude, that 
the god-making God is of transcendent righteousness, — one who will neither rashly, improp- 
erly, nor needlessly bestow a reward so great. I would have you then consider whether the 
merits of your deities are of a kind to have raised them to the heavens, and not rather to 
have sunk them down into lowest depths of Tartarus, — the place which you regard, with 
many, as the prison-house of infernal punishments. For into this dread place are wont to 
be cast all who offend against filial piety, and such as are guilty of incest with sisters, and 
seducers of wives, and ravishers of virgins, and boy-polluters, and men of furious tempers, 
and murderers, and thieves, and deceivers; all, in short, who tread in the footsteps of your 
gods, not one of whom you can prove free from crime or vice, save by denying that they 
had ever a human existence. But as you cannot deny that, you have those foul blots also as 
an added reason for not believing that they were made gods afterwards. For if you rule for 
the very purpose of punishing such deeds; if every virtuous man among you rejects all cor- 
respondence, converse, and intimacy with the wicked and base, while, on the other hand, 
the high God has taken up their mates to a share of His majesty, on what ground is it that 
you thus condemn those whose fellow- actors you adore? Your goodness is an affront in the 
heavens. Deify your vilest criminals, if you would please your gods. You honour them by 
giving divine honours to their fellows. But to say no more about a way of acting so unworthy, 
there have been men virtuous, and pure, and good. Yet how many of these nobler men you 
have left in the regions of doom! as Socrates, so renowned for his wisdom, Aristides for his 
justice, Themistocles for his warlike genius, Alexander for his sublimity of soul, Polycrates 
for his good fortune, Croesus for his wealth, Demosthenes for his eloquence. Which of these 
gods of yours is more remarkable for gravity and wisdom than Cato, more just and warlike 
than Scipio? which of them more magnanimous than Pompey, more prosperous than Sylla, 
of greater wealth than Crassus, more eloquent than Tullius? How much better it would have 
been for the God Supreme to have waited that He might have taken such men as these to 
be His heavenly associates, prescient as He must have surely been of their worthier character! 
He was in a hurry, I suppose, and straightway shut heaven’s gates; and now He must surely 
feel ashamed at these worthies murmuring over their lot in the regions below. 


46 



Chapter XII. 


Chapter XII. 

But I pass from these remarks, for I know and I am going to show what your gods are 
not, by showing what they are. In reference, then, to these, I see only names of dead men of 
ancient times; I hear fabulous stories; I recognize sacred rites founded on mere myths. As 
to the actual images, I regard them as simply pieces of matter akin to the vessels and utensils 
in common use among us, or even undergoing in their consecration a hapless change from 
these useful articles at the hands of reckless art, which in the transforming process treats 
them with utter contempt, nay, in the very act commits sacrilege; so that it might be no 
slight solace to us in all our punishments, suffering as we do because of these same gods, 
that in their making they suffer as we do themselves. You put Christians on crosses and 

on 

stakes: what image is not formed from the clay in the first instance, set on cross and stake? 

The body of your god is first consecrated on the gibbet. You tear the sides of Christians with 
your claws; but in the case of your own gods, axes, and planes, and rasps are put to work 
more vigorously on every member of the body. We lay our heads upon the block; before 
the lead, and the glue, and the nails are put in requisition, your deities are headless. We are 
cast to the wild beasts, while you attach them to Bacchus, and Cybele, and Caelestis. We are 
burned in the flames; so, too, are they in their original lump. We are condemned to the 
mines; from these your gods originate. We are banished to islands; in islands it is a common 
thing for your gods to have their birth or die. If it is in this way a deity is made, it will follow 
that as many as are punished are deified, and tortures will have to be declared divinities. 
But plain it is these objects of your worship have no sense of the injuries and disgraces of 
their consecrating, as they are equally unconscious of the honours paid to them. O impious 
words! O blasphemous reproaches! Gnash your teeth upon us — foam with maddened rage 
against us — ye are the persons, no doubt, who censured a certain Seneca speaking of your 
superstition at much greater length and far more sharply! In a word, if we refuse our homage 
to statues and frigid images, the very counterpart of their dead originals, with which hawks, 
and mice, and spiders are so well acquainted, does it not merit praise instead of penalty, 
that we have rejected what we have come to see is error? We cannot surely be made out to 
injure those who we are certain are nonentities. What does not exist, is in its nonexistence 
secure from suffering. 


89 [Inconsistent this with Gibbon’s minimizing theory of the number of the Christian martyrs.] Elucidation 


VIII. 


47 



Chapter XIII. 


Chapter XIII. 

“But they are gods to us,” you say. And how is it, then, that in utter inconsistency with 
this, you are convicted of impious, sacrilegious, and irreligious conduct to them, neglecting 
those you imagine to exist, destroying those who are the objects of your fear, making mock 
of those whose honour you avenge? See now if I go beyond the truth. First, indeed, seeing 
you worship, some one god, and some another, of course you give offence to those you do 
not worship. You cannot continue to give preference to one without slighting another, for 
selection implies rejection. You despise, therefore, those whom you thus reject; for in your 
rejection of them, it is plain you have no dread of giving them offence. For, as we have 
already shown, every god depended on the decision of the senate for his godhead. No god 
was he whom man in his own counsels did not wish to be so, and thereby condemned. The 
family deities you call Lares, you exercise a domestic authority over, pledging them, selling 
them, changing them — making sometimes a cooking-pot of a Saturn, a firepan of a Minerva, 
as one or other happens to be worn down, or broken in its long sacred use, or as the family 
head feels the pressure of some more sacred home necessity. In like manner, by public law 
you disgrace your state gods, putting them in the auction-catalogue, and making them a 
source of revenue. Men seek to get the Capitol, as they seek to get the herb market, under 
the voice of the crier, under the auction spear, under the registration of the quaestor. Deity 
is struck off and farmed out to the highest bidder. But indeed lands burdened with tribute 
are of less value; men under the assessment of a poll-tax are less noble; for these things are 
the marks of servitude. In the case of the gods, on the other hand, the sacredness is great in 
proportion to the tribute which they yield; nay, the more sacred is a god, the larger is the 
tax he pays. Majesty is made a source of gain. Religion goes about the taverns begging. You 
demand a price for the privilege of standing on temple ground, for access to the sacred ser- 
vices; there is no gratuitous knowledge of your divinities permitted — you must buy their 
favours with a price. What honours in anyway do you render to them that you do not render 
to the dead? You have temples in the one case just as in the other; you have altars in the one 
case as in the other. Their statues have the same dress, the same insignia. As the dead man 
had his age, his art, his occupation, so it is with the deity. In what respect does the funeral 
feast differ from the feast of Jupiter? or the bowl of the gods from the ladle of the manes? 
or the undertaker from the soothsayer, as in fact this latter personage also attends upon the 
dead? With perfect propriety you give divine honours to your departed emperors, as you 
worship them in life. The gods will count themselves indebted to you; nay, it will be matter 
of high rejoicing among them that their masters are made their equals. But when you adore 
Larentina, a public prostitute — I could have wished that it might at least have been Lais or 
Phryne — among your Junos, and Cereses, and Dianas; when you instal in your Pantheon 


48 



Chapter XIII. 


Simon Magus , 90 giving him a statue and the title of Holy God; when you make an infamous 
court page a god of the sacred synod, although your ancient deities are in reality no better, 
they will still think themselves affronted by you, that the privilege antiquity conferred on 
them alone, has been allowed to others. 


90 [Confirming the statement of Justin Martyr. See Vol. I„ p. 187, note 1, and p. 193, this Series.] 


49 



Chapter XIV. 


Chapter XIV. 

I wish now to review your sacred rites; and I pass no censure on your sacrificing, when 
you offer the worn-out, the scabbed, the corrupting; when you cut off from the fat and the 
sound the useless parts, such as the head and the hoofs, which in your house you would 
have assigned to the slaves or the dogs; when of the tithe of Hercules you do not lay a third 
upon his altar (I am disposed rather to praise your wisdom in rescuing something from 
being lost); but turning to your books, from which you get your training in wisdom and the 
nobler duties of life, what utterly ridiculous things I find! — that for Trojans and Greeks the 
gods fought among themselves like pairs of gladiators; that Venus was wounded by a man, 
because she would rescue her son /Eneas when he was in peril of his life from the same 
Diomede; that Mars was almost wasted away by a thirteen months’ imprisonment; that 
Jupiter was saved by a monster’s aid from suffering the same violence at the hands of the 
other gods; that he now laments the fate of Sarpedon, now foully makes love to his own 
sister, recounting (to her) former mistresses, now for a long time past not so dear as she. 
After this, what poet is not found copying the example of his chief, to be a disgracer of the 
gods? One gives Apollo to king Admetus to tend his sheep; another hires out the building 
labours of Neptune to Laomedon. A well-known lyric poet, too — Pindar, I mean — sings of 
/Esculapius deservedly stricken with lightning for his greed in practising wrongfully his art. 
A wicked deed it was of Jupiter — if he hurled the bolt — unnatural to his grandson, and ex- 
hibiting envious feeling to the Physician. Things like these should not be made public if they 
are true; and if false, they should not be fabricated among people professing a great respect 
for religion. Nor indeed do either tragic or comic writers shrink from setting forth the gods 
as the origin of all family calamities and sins. I do not dwell on the philosophers, contenting 
myself with a reference to Socrates, who, in contempt of the gods, was in the habit of 
swearing by an oak, and a goat, and a dog. In fact, for this very thing Socrates was condemned 
to death, that he overthrew the worship of the gods. Plainly, at one time as well as another, 
that is, always truth is disliked. However, when rueing their judgment, the Athenians inflicted 
punishment on his accusers, and set up a golden image of him in a temple, the condemnation 
was in the very act rescinded, and his witness was restored to its former value. Diogenes, 
too, makes utter mock of Hercules and the Roman cynic Varro brings forward three hundred 
Joves, or Jupiters they should be called, all headless. 


50 



Chapter XV. 


Chapter XV. 

Others of your writers, in their wantonness, even minister to your pleasures by vilifying 
the gods. Examine those charming farces of your Lentuli and Hostilii, whether in the jokes 
and tricks it is the buffoons or the deities which afford you merriment; such farces I mean 
as Anubis the Adulterer, and Luna of the masculine gender, and Diana under the lash, and 
the reading the will of Jupiter deceased, and the three famishing Herculeses held up to ri- 
dicule. Your dramatic literature, too, depicts all the vileness of your gods. The Sun mourns 
his offspring 91 cast down from heaven, and you are full of glee; Cybele sighs after the 
scornful swain, and you do not blush; you brook the stage recital of Jupiter’s misdeeds, 
and the shepherd judging Juno, Venus, and Minerva. Then, again, when the likeness of a 
god is put on the head of an ignominious and infamous wretch, when one impure and 
trained up for the art in all effeminacy, represents a Minerva or a Hercules, is not the majesty 
of your gods insulted, and their deity dishonored? Yet you not merely look on, but applaud. 
You are, I suppose, more devout in the arena, where after the same fashion your deities 
dance on human blood, on the pollutions caused by inflicted punishments, as they act their 
themes and stories, doing their turn for the wretched criminals, except that these, too, often 
put on divinity and actually play the very gods. We have seen in our day a representation 
of the mutilation of Attis, that famous god of Pessinus, and a man burnt alive as Hercules. 
We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition, at Mercury 
examining the bodies of the dead with his hot iron; we have witnessed Jove’s brother , 94 
mallet in hand, dragging out the corpses of the gladiators. But who can go into everything 
of this sort? If by such things as these the honour of deity is assailed, if they go to blot out 
every trace of its majesty, we must explain them by the contempt in which the gods are held, 
alike by those who actually do them, and by those for whose enjoyment they are done. This 
it will be said, however, is all in sport. But if I add — it is what all know and will admit as 
readily to be the fact — that in the temples adulteries are arranged, that at the altars pimping 
is practised, that often in the houses of the temple-keepers and priests, under the sacrificial 
fillets, and the sacred hats , 95 and the purple robes, amid the fumes of incense, deeds of li- 
centiousness are done, I am not sure but your gods have more reason to complain of you 
than of Christians. It is certainly among the votaries of your religion that the perpetrators 
of sacrilege are always found, for Christians do not enter your temples even in the day-time. 


91 Phaethon. 

92 Atys or Attis. 

93 Paris. 

94 Pluto. 

95 [“Sacred hats and purple robes and incense fumes” have been associated with the same crimes, alas! in 
widely different relations.] 


51 



Chapter XV. 


Perhaps they too would be spoilers of them, if they worshipped in them. What then do they 
worship, since their objects of worship are different from yours? Already indeed it is implied, 
as the corollary from their rejection of the he, that they render homage to the truth; nor 
continue longer in an error which they have given up in the very fact of recognizing it to be 
an error. Take this in first of all, and when we have offered a preliminary refutation of some 
false opinions, go on to derive from it our entire religious system. 


52 



Chapter XVI. 


Chapter XVI. 

For, like some others, you are under the delusion that our god is an ass’s head . 96 Cor 
nelius Tacitus first put this notion into people’s minds. In the fifth book of his histories, 
beginning the (narrative of the) Jewish war with an account of the origin of the nation; and 
theorizing at his pleasure about the origin, as well as the name and the religion of the Jews, 
he states that having been delivered, or rather, in his opinion, expelled from Egypt, in 
crossing the vast plains of Arabia, where water is so scanty, they were in extremity from 
thirst; but taking the guidance of the wild asses, which it was thought might be seeking water 
after feeding, they discovered a fountain, and thereupon in their gratitude they consecrated 
a head of this species of animal. And as Christianity is nearly allied to Judaism, from this, I 
suppose, it was taken for granted that we too are devoted to the worship of the same image. 
But the said Cornelius Tacitus (the very opposite of tacit in telling lies) informs us in the 
work already mentioned, that when Cneius Pompeius captured Jerusalem, he entered the 
temple to see the arcana of the Jewish religion, but found no image there. Yet surely if worship 
was rendered to any visible object, the very place for its exhibition would be the shrine; and 
that all the more that the worship, however unreasonable, had no need there to fear outside 
beholders. For entrance to the holy place was permitted to the priests alone, while all vision 
was forbidden to others by an outspread curtain. You will not, however, deny that all beasts 
of burden, and not parts of them, but the animals entire, are with their goddess Epona objects 
of worship with you. It is this, perhaps, which displeases you in us, that while your worship 
here is universal, we do homage only to the ass. Then, if any of you think we render super- 
stitious adoration to the cross, in that adoration he is sharer with us. If you offer homage 
to a piece of wood at all, ft matters little what it is like when the substance is the same: it is 
of no consequence the form, if you have the very body of the god. And yet how far does the 
Athenian Pallas differ from the stock of the cross, or the Pharian Ceres as she is put up un- 
carved to sale, a mere rough stake and piece of shapeless wood? Every stake fixed in an upright 
position is a portion of the cross; we render our adoration, if you will have it so, to a god 
entire and complete. We have shown before that your deities are derived from shapes 
modelled from the cross. But you also worship victories, for in your trophies the cross is 
the heart of the trophy. The camp religion of the Romans is all through a worship of the 
standards, a setting the standards above all gods. Well, as those images decking out the 
standards are ornaments of crosses. All those hangings of your standards and banners are 
robes of crosses. I praise your zeal: you would not consecrate crosses unclothed and un- 
adorned. Others, again, certainly with more information and greater verisimilitude, believe 


96 [Caricatures of the Crucifixion are extant which show how greedily the heathen had accepted this profane 
idea.] 

97 [A premonition of the Labarum.] 


53 



Chapter XVI. 


that the sun is our god. We shall be counted Persians perhaps, though we do not worship 
the orb of day painted on a piece of linen cloth, having himself everywhere in his own disk. 

go 

The idea no doubt has originated from our being known to turn to the east in prayer. But 
you, many of you, also under pretence sometimes of worshipping the heavenly bodies, move 
your lips in the direction of the sunrise. In the same way, if we devote Sun-day to rejoicing, 
from a far different reason than Sun-worship, we have some resemblance to those of you 
who devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury, though they too go far away from Jewish 
ways, of which indeed they are ignorant. But lately a new edition of our god has been given 
to the world in that great city: it originated with a certain vile man who was wont to hire 
himself out to cheat the wild beasts, and who exhibited a picture with this inscription: The 
God of the Christians, born of an ass." He had the ears of an ass, was hoofed in one foot, 
carried a book , 100 and wore a toga. Both the name and the figure gave us amusement. But 
our opponents ought straightway to have done homage to this biformed divinity, for they 
have acknowledged gods dog-headed and lion-headed, with horn of buck and ram, with 
goat-like loins, with serpent legs, with wings sprouting from back or foot. These things we 
have discussed ex abundanti, that we might not seem willingly to pass by any rumor against 
us unrefuted. Having thoroughly cleared ourselves, we turn now to an exhibition of what 
our religion really is. 


98 [As noted by Clement of Alexandria. See p. 535, Vol. II., and note.] 

99 Onocoites. If with Oehler, Onochoietes, the meaning is “asinarius sacerdos” (Oehler). 

100 Referring evidently to the Scriptures; and showing what the Bible was to the early Christians. 


54 



Chapter XVII. 


Chapter XVII. 

The object of our worship is the One God , 101 He who by His commanding word, His 
arranging wisdom, His mighty power, brought forth from nothing this entire mass of our 
world, with all its array of elements, bodies, spirits, for the glory of His majesty; whence also 
the Greeks have bestowed on it the name of Koopoq The eye cannot see Him, though He 
is (spiritually) visible. He is incomprehensible, though in grace He is manifested. He is 
beyond our utmost thought, though our human faculties conceive of Him. He is therefore 
equally real and great. But that which, in the ordinary sense, can be seen and handled and 
conceived, is inferior to the eyes by which it is taken in, and the hands by which it is tainted, 
and the faculties by which it is discovered; but that which is infinite is known only to itself. 
This it is which gives some notion of God, while yet beyond all our conceptions — our very 
incapacity of fully grasping Him affords us the idea of what He really is. He is presented to 
our minds in His transcendent greatness, as at once known and unknown. And this is the 
crowning guilt of men, that they will not recognize One, of whom they cannot possibly be 
ignorant. Would you have the proof from the works of His hands, so numerous and so great, 
which both contain you and sustain you, which minister at once to your enjoyment, and 
strike you with awe; or would you rather have it from the testimony of the soul itself? Though 
under the oppressive bondage of the body, though led astray by depraving customs, though 
enervated by lusts and passions, though in slavery to false gods; yet, whenever the soul comes 
to itself, as out of a surfeit, or a sleep, or a sickness, and attains something of its natural 
soundness, it speaks of God; using no other word, because this is the peculiar name of the 
true God. “God is great and good” — “Which may God give,” are the words on every lip. It 
bears witness, too, that God is judge, exclaiming, “God sees,” and, “I commend myself to 
God,” and, “God will repay me.” O noble testimony of the soul by nature “ Christian! Then, 
too, in using such words as these, it looks not to the Capitol, but to the heavens. It knows 
that there is the throne of the living God, as from Him and from thence itself came down. 


101 [Kaye, p. 168. Remarks on natural religion.] 

102 [Though we are not by nature good, in our present estate; this is elsewhere demonstrated by Tertullian, 
as see cap. xviii.] 


55 



Chapter XVIII. 


Chapter XVIII. 

But, that we might attain an ampler and more authoritative knowledge at once of 
Himself, and of His counsels and will, God has added a written revelation for the behoof of 
every one whose heart is set on seeking Him, that seeking he may find, and finding believe, 
and believing obey. For from the first He sent messengers into the world, — men whose 
stainless righteousness made them worthy to know the Most High, and to reveal Him, — men 
abundantly endowed with the Holy Spirit, that they might proclaim that there is one God 
only who made all things, who formed man from the dust of the ground (for He is the true 
Prometheus who gave order to the world by arranging the seasons and their course), — these 
have further set before us the proofs He has given of His majesty in His judgments by floods 
and fires, the rules appointed by Him for securing His favour, as well as the retribution in 
store for the ignoring, forsaking and keeping them, as being about at the end of all to adjudge 
His worshippers to everlasting life, and the wicked to the doom of fire at once without 
ending and without break, raising up again all the dead from the beginning, reforming and 
renewing them with the object of awarding either recompense. Once these things were with 
us, too, the theme of ridicule. We are of your stock and nature: men are made, not born, 
Christians. The preachers of whom we have spoken are called prophets, from the office 
which belongs to them of predicting the future. Their words, as well as the miracles which 
they performed, that men might have faith in their divine authority, we have still in the lit- 
erary treasures they have left, and which are open to all. Ptolemy, surnamed Philadelphus, 
the most learned of his race, a man of vast acquaintance with all literature, emulating, I 
imagine, the book enthusiasm of Pisistratus, among other remains of the past which either 
their antiquity or something of peculiar interest made famous, at the suggestion of Demet- 
rius Phalereus, who was renowned above all grammarians of his time, and to whom he had 
committed the management of these things, applied to the Jews for their writings — I mean 
the writings peculiar to them and in their tongue, which they alone possessed, for from 
themselves, as a people dear to God for their fathers’ sake, their prophets had ever sprung, 
and to them they had ever spoken. Now in ancient times the people we call Jews bare the 
name of Hebrews, and so both their writings and their speech were Hebrew. But that the 
understanding of their books might not be wanting, this also the Jews supplied to Ptolemy; 
for they gave him seventy-two interpreters — men whom the philosopher Menedemus, the 
well-known asserter of a Providence, regarded with respect as sharing in his views. The 
same account is given by Aristaeus. So the king left these works unlocked to all, in the Greek 
language. ' To this day, at the temple of Serapis, the libraries of Ptolemy are to be seen, 
with the identical Hebrew originals in them. The Jews, too, read them publicly. Under a 


103 [Kaye, p. 291. See Elucidation I. Also Vol. II., p. 334.] 


56 



Chapter XVIII. 


tribute-liberty, they are in the habit of going to hear them every Sabbath. Whoever gives 
ear will find God in them; whoever takes pains to understand, will be compelled to believe. 

— u 

33 


57 



Chapter XIX. 


Chapter XIX. 

Their high antiquity, first of all, claims authority for these writings. With you, too, it 
is a kind of religion to demand belief on this very ground. Well, all the substances, all the 
materials, the origins, classes, contents of your most ancient writings, even most nations 
and cities illustrious in the records of the past and noted for their antiquity in books of an- 
nals, — the very forms of your letters, those revealers and custodiers of events, nay (I think 
I speak still within the mark), your very gods themselves, your very temples and oracles, 
and sacred rites, are less ancient than the work of a single prophet, in whom you have the 
thesaurus of the entire Jewish religion, and therefore too of ours. If you happen to have 
heard of a certain Moses, I speak first of him: he is as far back as the Argive Inachus; by 
nearly four hundred years — only seven less — he precedes Danaus, your most ancient name; 
while he antedates by a millennium the death of Priam. I might affirm, too, that he is five 
hundred years earlier than Homer, and have supporters of that view. The other prophets 
also, though of later date, are, even the most recent of them, as far back as the first of your 
philosophers, and legislators, and historians. It is not so much the difficulty of the subject, 
as its vastness, that stands in the way of a statement of the grounds on which these statements 
rest; the matter is not so arduous as it would be tedious. It would require the anxious study 
of many books, and the fingers busy reckoning. The histories of the most ancient nations, 
such as the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, would need to be ransacked; the men 
of these various nations who have information to give, would have to be called in as witnesses. 
Manetho the Egyptian, and Berosus the Chaldean, and Hieromus the Phoenician king of 
Tyre; their successors too, Ptolemy the Mendesian, and Demetrius Phalereus, and King 
Juba, and Apion, and Thallus, and their critic the Jew Josephus, the native vindicator of the 
ancient history of his people, who either authenticates or refutes the others. Also the Greek 
censors’ lists must be compared, and the dates of events ascertained, that the chronological 
connections may be opened up, and thus the reckonings of the various annals be made to 
give forth light. We must go abroad into the histories and literature of all nations. And, in 
fact, we have already brought the proof in part before you, in giving those hints as to how 
it is to be effected. But it seems better to delay the full discussion of this, lest in our haste we 
do not sufficiently carry it out, or lest in its thorough handling we make too lengthened a 
digression. 


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Chapter XX. 


Chapter XX. 

To make up for our delay in this, we bring under your notice something of even greater 
importance; we point to the majesty of our Scriptures, if not to their antiquity. If you doubt 
that they are as ancient as we say, we offer proof that they are divine. And you may convince 
yourselves of this at once, and without going very far. Your instructors, the world, and the 
age, and the event, are all before you. All that is taking place around you was fore-announced; 
all that you now see with your eye was previously heard by the ear. The swallowing up of 
cities by the earth; the theft of islands by the sea; wars, bringing external and internal con- 
vulsions; the collision of kingdoms with kingdoms; famines and pestilences, and local mas- 
sacres, and widespread desolating mortalities; the exaltation of the lowly, and the humbling 
of the proud; the decay of righteousness, the growth of sin, the slackening interest in all 
good ways; the very seasons and elements going out of their ordinary course, monsters and 
portents taking the place of nature’s forms — it was all foreseen and predicted before it came 
to pass. While we suffer the calamities, we read of them in the Scriptures; as we examine, 
they are proved. Well, the truth of a prophecy, I think, is the demonstration of its being 
from above. Hence there is among us an assured faith in regard to coming events as things 
already proved to us, for they were predicted along with what we have day by day fulfilled. 
They are uttered by the same voices, they are written in the same books — the same Spirit 
inspires them. All time is one to prophecy foretelling the future. Among men, it may be, a 
distinction of times is made while the fulfilment is going on: from being future we think of 
it as present, and then from being present we count it as belonging to the past. How are we 
to blame, I pray you, that we believe in things to come as though they already were, with 
the grounds we have for our faith in these two steps? 


59 



Chapter XXI. 


Chapter XXI. 

But having asserted that our religion is supported by the writings of the Jews, the oldest 
which exist, though it is generally known, and we fully admit that it dates from a comparat- 
ively recent period — no further back indeed than the reign of Tiberius — a question may 
perhaps be raised on this ground about its standing, as if it were hiding something of its 
presumption under shadow of an illustrious religion, one which has at any rate undoubted 
allowance of the law, or because, apart from the question of age, we neither accord with the 
Jews in their peculiarities in regard to food, nor in their sacred days, nor even in their well- 
known bodily sign, nor in the possession of a common name, which surely behoved to be 
the case if we did homage to the same God as they. Then, too, the common people have 
now some knowledge of Christ, and think of Him as but a man, one indeed such as the Jews 
condemned, so that some may naturally enough have taken up the idea that we are worship- 
pers of a mere human being. But we are neither ashamed of Christ — for we rejoice to be 
counted His disciples, and in His name to suffer — nor do we differ from the Jews concerning 
God. We must make, therefore, a remark or two as to Christ’s divinity. In former times the 
Jews enjoyed much of God’s favour, when the fathers of their race were noted for their 
righteousness and faith. So it was that as a people they flourished greatly, and their kingdom 
attained to a lofty eminence; and so highly blessed were they, that for their instruction God 
spake to them in special revelations, pointing out to them beforehand how they should 
merit His favor and avoid His displeasure. But how deeply they have sinned, puffed up to 
their fall with a false trust in their noble ancestors, turning from God’s way into a way of 
sheer impiety, though they themselves should refuse to admit it, their present national ruin 
would afford sufficient proof. Scattered abroad, a race of wanderers, exiles from their own 
land and clime, they roam over the whole world without either a human or a heavenly king, 
not possessing even the stranger’s right to set so much as a simple footstep in their native 
country. The sacred writers withal, in giving previous warning of these things, all with equal 
clearness ever declared that, in the last days of the world, God would, out of every nation, 
and people, and country, choose for Himself more faithful worshippers, upon whom He 
would bestow His grace, and that indeed in ampler measure, in keeping with the enlarged 
capacities of a nobler dispensation. Accordingly, He appeared among us, whose coming to 
renovate and illuminate man’s nature was pre-announced by God — I mean Christ, that Son 
of God. And so the supreme Head and Master of this grace and discipline, the Enlightener 
and Trainer of the human race, God’s own Son, was announced among us, born — but not 
so born as to make Him ashamed of the name of Son or of His paternal origin. It was not 
His lot to have as His father, by incest with a sister, or by violation of a daughter or another’s 
wife, a god in the shape of serpent, or ox, or bird, or lover, for his vile ends transmuting 
himself into the gold of Danaus. They are your divinities upon whom these base deeds of 
Jupiter were done. But the Son of God has no mother in any sense which involves impurity; 


60 



Chapter XXI. 


she, whom men suppose to be His mother in the ordinary way, had never entered into the 
marriage bond . 104 But, first, I shall discuss His essential nature, and so the nature of His 
birth will be understood. We have already asserted that God made the world, and all which 
it contains, by His W ord, and Reason, and Power. It is abundantly plain that your philosoph- 
ers, too, regard the Logos — that is, the Word and Reason — as the Creator of the universe. 
For Zeno lays it down that he is the creator, having made all things according to a determ- 
inate plan; that his name is Fate, and God, and the soul of Jupiter, and the necessity of all 
things. Cleanthes ascribes all this to spirit, which he maintains pervades the universe. And 
we, in like manner, hold that the Word, and Reason, and Power, by which we have said God 
made all, have spirit as their proper and essential substratum, in which the Word has in 
being to give forth utterances, and reason abides to dispose and arrange, and power is over 
all to execute. We have been taught that He proceeds forth from God, and in that procession 
He is generated; so that He is the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance 
with God. For God, too, is a Spirit. Even when the ray is shot from the sun, it is still part of 
the parent mass; the sun will still be in the ray, because it is a ray of the sun — there is no di- 
vision of substance, but merely an extension. Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of 
God, as light of light is kindled . 105 The material matrix remains entire and unimpaired, 
though you derive from it any number of shoots possessed of its qualities; so, too, that which 
has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one. In this 
way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of exist- 
ence — in position, not in nature; and He did not withdraw from the original source, but 
went forth. This ray of God, then, as it was always foretold in ancient times, descending 
into a certain virgin, and made flesh in her womb, is in His birth God and man united. The 
flesh formed by the Spirit is nourished, grows up to manhood, speaks, teaches, works, and 
is the Christ. Receive meanwhile this fable, if you choose to call it so — it is like some of your 
own — while we go on to show how Christ’s claims are proved, and who the parties are with 
you by whom such fables have been set a going to overthrow the truth, which they resemble. 
The Jews, too, were well aware that Christ was coming, as those to whom the prophets spake. 
Nay, even now His advent is expected by them; nor is there any other contention between 
them and us, than that they believe the advent has not yet occurred. For two comings of 
Christ having been revealed to us: a first, which has been fulfilled in the lowliness of a human 
lot; a second, which impends over the world, now near its close, in all the majesty of Deity 
unveiled; and, by misunderstanding the first, they have concluded that the second — which, 
as matter of more manifest prediction, they set their hopes on — is the only one. It was the 
merited punishment of their sin not to understand the Lord’s first advent: for if they had, 


104 [That is, by the consummation of her marriage with Joseph.] 

105 [Language common among Christians, and adopted afterwards into the Creed.] 


61 



Chapter XXI. 


they would have believed; and if they had believed, they would have obtained salvation. 
They themselves read how it is written of them that they are deprived of wisdom and under- 
standing — of the use of eyes and ears . 106 As, then, under the force of their pre-judgment, 
they had convinced themselves from His lowly guise that Christ was no more than man, it 
followed from that, as a necessary consequence, that they should hold Him a magician from 
the powers which He displayed, — expelling devils from men by a word, restoring vision to 
the blind, cleansing the leprous, reinvigorating the paralytic, summoning the dead to life 
again, making the very elements of nature obey Him, stilling the storms and walking on the 
sea; proving that He was the Logos of God, that primordial first-begotten Word, accompanied 
by power and reason, and based on Spirit, — that He who was now doing all things by His 
word, and He who had done that of old, were one and the same. But the Jews were so exas- 
perated by His teaching, by which their rulers and chiefs were convicted of the truth, chiefly 
because so many turned aside to Him, that at last they brought Him before Pontius Pilate, 
at that time Roman governor of Syria; and, by the violence of their outcries against Him, 
extorted a sentence giving Him up to them to be crucified. He Himself had predicted this; 
which, however, would have signified little had not the prophets of old done it as well. And 
yet, nailed upon the cross, He exhibited many notable signs, by which His death was distin- 
guished from all others. At His own free-will, He with a word dismissed from Him His 
spirit, anticipating the executioner’s work. In the same hour, too, the light of day was with- 
drawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware 
that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves 
have the account of the world-portent still in your archives. Then, when His body was 
taken down from the cross and placed in a sepulchre, the Jews in their eager watchfulness 
surrounded it with a large military guard, lest, as He had predicted His resurrection from 
the dead on the third day, His disciples might remove by stealth His body, and deceive even 
the incredulous. But, lo, on the third day there a was a sudden shock of earthquake, and the 
stone which sealed the sepulchre was rolled away, and the guard fled off in terror: without 
a single disciple near, the grave was found empty of all but the clothes of the buried One. 
But nevertheless, the leaders of the Jews, whom it nearly concerned both to spread abroad 
a lie, and keep back a people tributary and submissive to them from the faith, gave it out 
that the body of Christ had been stolen by His followers. For the Lord, you see, did not go 
forth into the public gaze, lest the wicked should be delivered from their error; that faith 
also, destined to a great reward, might hold its ground in difficulty. But He spent forty days 
with some of His disciples down in Galilee, a region of Judea, instructing them in the doc- 
trines they were to teach to others. Thereafter, having given them commission to preach 


106 Isa. vi. 10. 

107 Elucidation V. 


62 


Chapter XXI. 


the gospel through the world, He was encompassed with a cloud and taken up to heaven, — a 
fact more certain far than the assertions of your Proculi concerning Romulus. All these 
things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word 
of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius. Yes, and the Caesars too would 
have believed on Christ, if either the Caesars had not been necessary for the world, or if 
Christians could have been Caesars. His disciples also, spreading over the world, did as their 
Divine Master bade them; and after suffering greatly themselves from the persecutions of 
the Jews, and with no unwilling heart, as having faith undoubting in the truth, at last by 
Nero’s cruel sword sowed the seed of Christian blood at Rome . 109 Yes, and we shall prove 
that even your own gods are effective witnesses for Christ. It is a great matter if, to give you 
faith in Christians, I can bring forward the authority of the very beings on account of whom 
you refuse them credit. Thus far we have carried out the plan we laid down. We have set 
forth this origin of our sect and name, with this account of the Founder of Christianity. Let 
no one henceforth charge us with infamous wickedness; let no one think that it is otherwise 
than we have represented, for none may give a false account of his religion. For in the very 
fact that he says he worships another god than he really does, he is guilty of denying the 
object of his worship, and transferring his worship and homage to another; and, in the 
transference, he ceases to worship the god he has repudiated. We say, and before all men 
we say, and torn and bleeding under your tortures, we cry out, “We worship God through 
Christ.” Count Christ a man, if you please; by Him and in Him God would be known and 
be adored. If the Jews object, we answer that Moses, who was but a man, taught them their 
religion; against the Greeks we urge that Orpheus at Pieria, Musaeus at Athens, Melampus 
at Argos, Trophonius in Boeotia, imposed religious rites; turning to yourselves, who exercise 
sway over the nations, it was the man Numa Pompilius who laid on the Romans a heavy 
load of costly superstitions. Surely Christ, then, had a right to reveal Deity, which was in 
fact His own essential possession, not with the object of bringing boors and savages by the 
dread of multitudinous gods, whose favour must be won into some civilization, as was the 
case with Numa; but as one who aimed to enlighten men already civilized, and under illusions 
from their very culture, that they might come to the knowledge of the truth. Search, then, 
and see if that divinity of Christ be true. If it be of such a nature that the acceptance of it 
transforms a man, and makes him truly good, there is implied in that the duty of renouncing 
what is opposed to it as false; especially and on every ground that which, hiding itself under 
the names and images of dead, the labours to convince men of its divinity by certain signs, 
and miracles, and oracles. 


108 Proculus was a Roman senator who affirmed that Romulus had appeared to him after his death. 

109 [Chapter 1. at close. “The blood of Christians is the seed of the Church.”] 


63 



Chapter XXII. 


Chapter XXII. 

And we affirm indeed the existence of certain spiritual essences; nor is their name unfa- 
miliar. The philosophers acknowledge there are demons; Socrates himself waiting on a de- 
mon’s will. Why not? since it is said an evil spirit attached itself specially to him even from 
his childhood — turning his mind no doubt from what was good. The poets are all acquainted 
with demons too; even the ignorant common people make frequent use of them in cursing. 
In fact, they call upon Satan, the demon-chief, in their execrations, as though from some 
instinctive soul-knowledge of him. Plato also admits the existence of angels. The dealers in 
magic, no less, come forward as witnesses to the existence of both kinds of spirits. We are 
instructed, moreover, by our sacred books how from certain angels, who fell of their own 
free-will, there sprang a more wicked demon-brood, condemned of God along with the 
authors of their race, and that chief we have referred to. It will for the present be enough, 
however, that some account is given of their work. Their great business is the ruin of 
mankind. So, from the very first, spiritual wickedness sought our destruction. They inflict, 
accordingly, upon our bodies diseases and other grievous calamities, while by violent assaults 
they hurry the soul into sudden and extraordinary excesses. Their marvellous subtleness 
and tenuity give them access to both parts of our nature. As spiritual, they can do no harm; 
for, invisible and intangible, we are not cognizant of their action save by its effects, as when 
some inexplicable, unseen poison in the breeze blights the apples and the grain while in the 
flower, or kills them in the bud, or destroys them when they have reached maturity; as 
though by the tainted atmosphere in some unknown way spreading abroad its pestilential 
exhalations. So, too, by an influence equally obscure, demons and angels breathe into the 
soul, and rouse up its corruptions with furious passions and vile excesses; or with cruel lusts 
accompanied by various errors, of which the worst is that by which these deities are com- 
mended to the favour of deceived and deluded human beings, that they may get their 
proper food of flesh-fumes and blood when that is offered up to idol-images. What is dain- 
tier food to the spirit of evil, than turning men’s minds away from the true God by the illu- 
sions of a false divination? And here I explain how these illusions are managed. Every spirit 
is possessed of wings. This is a common property of both angels and demons. So they are 
everywhere in a single moment; the whole world is as one place to them; all that is done 
over the whole extent of it, it is as easy for them to know as to report. Their swiftness of 
motion is taken for divinity, because their nature is unknown. Thus they would have 
themselves thought sometimes the authors of the things which they announce; and some- 
times, no doubt, the bad things are their doing, never the good. The purposes of God, too, 
they took up of old from the lips of the prophets, even as they spoke them; and they gather 
them still from their works, when they hear them read aloud. Thus getting, too, from this 
source some intimations of the future, they set themselves up as rivals of the true God, while 
they steal His divinations. But the skill with which their responses are shaped to meet events, 


64 



Chapter XXII. 


your Croesi and Pyrrhi know too well. On the other hand, it was in that way we have ex- 
plained, the Pythian was able to declare that they were cooking a tortoise 110 with the flesh 
of a lamb; in a moment he had been to Lydia. From dwelling in the air, and their nearness 
to the stars, and their commerce with the clouds, they have means of knowing the preparatory 
processes going on in these upper regions, and thus can give promise of the rains which 
they already feel. Very kind too, no doubt, they are in regard to the healing of diseases. For, 
first of all, they make you ill; then, to get a miracle out of it, they command the application 
of remedies either altogether new, or contrary to those in use, and straightway withdrawing 
hurtful influence, they are supposed to have wrought a cure. What need, then, to speak of 
their other artifices, or yet further of the deceptive power which they have as spirits: of these 
Castor apparitions , 111 of water carried by a sieve, and a ship drawn along by a girdle, and 
a beard reddened by a touch, all done with the one obj ect of showing that men should believe 
in the deity of stones, and not seek after the only true God? 


110 Herodotus, I. 47. [See Wilberforce’s Five Empires , p. 67.] 

111 [Castor and Pollux. Imitated in saint worship.] 


65 



Chapter XXIII. 


Chapter XXIII. 

Moreover, if sorcerers call forth ghosts, and even make what seem the souls of the dead 
to appear; if they put boys to death, in order to get a response from the oracle; if, with their 
juggling illusions, they make a pretence of doing various miracles; if they put dreams into 
people’s minds by the power of the angels and demons whose aid they have invited, by 
whose influence, too, goats and tables are made to divine, — how much more likely is this 
power of evil to be zealous in doing with all its might, of its own inclination, and for its own 
objects, what it does to serve the ends of others! Or if both angels and demons do just what 
your gods do, where in that case is the pre-eminence of deity, which we must surely think 
to be above all in might? Will it not then be more reasonable to hold that these spirits make 
themselves gods, giving as they do the very proofs which raise your gods to godhead, than 
that the gods are the equals of angels and demons? You make a distinction of places, I sup- 
pose, regarding as gods in their temple those whose divinity you do not recognize elsewhere; 
counting the madness which leads one man to leap from the sacred houses, to be something 
different from that which leads another to leap from an adjoining house; looking on one 
who cuts his arms and secret parts as under a different furor from another who cuts his 
throat. The result of the frenzy is the same, and the manner of instigation is one. But thus 
far we have been dealing only in words: we now proceed to a proof of facts, in which we 
shall show that under different names you have real identity. Let a person be brought before 
your tribunals, who is plainly under demoniacal possession. The wicked spirit, bidden to 
speak by a follower of Christ, " will as readily make the truthful confession that he is a de- 
mon, as elsewhere he has falsely asserted that he is a god. Or, if you will, let there be produced 
one of the god-possessed, as they are supposed, who, inhaling at the altar, conceive divinity 
from the fumes, who are delivered of it by retching, who vent it forth in agonies of gasping. 
Let that same Virgin Caelestis herself the rain-promiser, let /Esculapius discoverer of medi- 
cines, ready to prolong the life of Socordius, and Tenatius, and Asclepiodotus, now in the 
last extremity, if they would not confess, in their fear of lying to a Christian, that they were 
demons, then and there shed the blood of that most impudent follower of Christ. What 
clearer than a work like that? what more trustworthy than such a proof? The simplicity of 
truth is thus set forth; its own worth sustains it; no ground remains for the least suspicion. 
Do you say that it is done by magic, or some trick of that sort? You will not say anything of 
the sort, if you have been allowed the use of your ears and eyes. For what argument can you 
bring against a thing that is exhibited to the eye in its naked reality? If, on the one hand, 
they are really gods, why do they pretend to be demons? Is it from fear of us? In that case 
your divinity is put in subjection to Christians; and you surely can never ascribe deity to 
that which is under authority of man, nay (if it adds aught to the disgrace) of its very enemies. 


112 [This testimony must be noted as something of which Tertullian confidently challenges denial.] 


66 



Chapter XXIII. 


If, on the other hand, they are demons or angels, why, inconsistently with this, do they 
presume to set themselves forth as acting the part of gods? For as beings who put themselves 
out as gods would never willingly call themselves demons, if they were gods indeed, that 
they might not thereby in fact abdicate their dignity; so those whom you know to be no 
more than demons, would not dare to act as gods, if those whose names they take and use 
were really divine. For they would not dare to treat with disrespect the higher majesty of 
beings, whose displeasure they would feel was to be dreaded. So this divinity of yours is no 
divinity; for if it were, it would not be pretended to by demons, and it would not be denied 
by gods. But since on both sides there is a concurrent acknowledgment that they are not 
gods, gather from this that there is but a single race — I mean the race of demons, the real 
race in both cases. Let your search, then, now be after gods; for those whom you had ima- 
gined to be so you find to be spirits of evil. The truth is, as we have thus not only shown 
from our own gods that neither themselves nor any others have claims to deity, you may 
see at once who is really God, and whether that is He and He alone whom we Christians 
own; as also whether you are to believe in Him, and worship Him, after the manner of our 
Christian faith and discipline. But at once they will say, Who is this Christ with his fables? 
is he an ordinary man? is he a sorcerer? was his body stolen by his disciples from its tomb? 
is he now in the realms below? or is he not rather up in the heavens, thence about to come 
again, making the whole world shake, filling the earth with dread alarms, making all but 
Christians wail — as the Power of God, and the Spirit of God, as the Word, the Reason, the 
Wisdom, and the Son of God? Mock as you like, but get the demons if you can to join you 
in your mocking; let them deny that Christ is coming to judge every human soul which has 
existed from the world’s beginning, clothing it again with the body it laid aside at death; let 
them declare it, say, before your tribunal, that this work has been allotted to Minos and 
Rhadamanthus, as Plato and the poets agree; let them put away from them at least the mark 
of ignominy and condemnation. They disclaim being unclean spirits, which yet we must 
hold as indubitably proved by their relish for the blood and fumes and foetid carcasses of 
sacrificial animals, and even by the vile language of their ministers. Let them deny that, for 
their wickedness condemned already, they are kept for that very judgment-day, with all 
their worshippers and their works. Why, all the authority and power we have over them is 
from our naming the name of Christ, and recalling to their memory the woes with which 
God threatens them at the hands of Christ as Judge, and which they expect one day to 
overtake them. Fearing Christ in God, and God in Christ, they become subject to the servants 
of God and Christ. So at our touch and breathing, overwhelmed by the thought and realiz- 
ation of those judgment fires, they leave at our command the bodies they have entered, 
unwilling, and distressed, and before your very eyes put to an open shame. Y ou believe them 
when they he; give credit to them, then, when they speak the truth about themselves. No 
one plays the liar to bring disgrace upon his own head, but for the sake of honour rather. 


67 



Chapter XXIII. 


You give a readier confidence to people making confessions against themselves, than denials 
in their own behalf. It has not been an unusual thing, accordingly, for those testimonies of 
your deities to convert men to Christianity; for in giving full belief to them, we are led to 
believe in Christ. Yes, your very gods kindle up faith in our Scriptures, they build up the 
confidence of our hope. You do homage, as I know, to them also with the blood of Christians. 
On no account, then, would they lose those who are so useful and dutiful to them, anxious 
even to hold you fast, lest some day or other as Christians you might put them to the rout, — if 
under the power of a follower of Christ, who desires to prove to you the Truth, it were at 
all possible for them to he. 


68 



Chapter XXIV. 


Chapter XXIV. 

This whole confession of these beings, in which they declare that they are not gods, and 
in which they tell you that there is no God but one, the God whom we adore, is quite sufficient 
to clear us from the crime of treason, chiefly against the Roman religion. For if it is certain 
the gods have no existence, there is no religion in the case. If there is no religion, because 
there are no gods, we are assuredly not guilty of any offence against religion. Instead of that, 
the charge recoils on your own head: worshipping a lie, you are really guilty of the crime 
you charge on us, not merely by refusing the true religion of the true God, but by going the 
further length of persecuting it. But now, granting that these objects of your worship are 
really gods, is it not generally held that there is one higher and more potent, as it were the 
world’s chief ruler, endowed with absolute power and majesty? For the common way is to 
apportion deity, giving an imperial and supreme domination to one, while its offices are 
put into the hands of many, as Plato describes great Jupiter in the heavens, surrounded by 
an array at once of deities and demons. It behooves us, therefore, to show equal respect to 
the procurators, prefects, and governors of the divine empire. And yet how great a crime 
does he commit, who, with the object of gaining higher favour with the Caesar, transfers his 
endeavours and his hopes to another, and does not confess that the appellation of God as 
of Emperor belongs only to the Supreme Head, when it is held a capital offence among us 
to call, or hear called, by the highest title any other than Caesar himself! Let one man worship 
God, another Jupiter; let one lift suppliant hands to the heavens, another to the altar of Fides; 
let one — if you choose to take this view of it — count in prayer the clouds, and another the 
ceiling panels; let one consecrate his own life to his God, and another that of a goat. For see 
that you do not give a further ground for the charge of irreligion, by taking away religious 

110 

liberty, and forbidding free choice of deity, so that I may no longer worship according 
to my inclination, but am compelled to worship against it. Not even a human being would 
care to have unwilling homage rendered him; and so the very Egyptians have been permitted 
the legal use of their ridiculous superstition, liberty to make gods of birds and beasts, nay, 
to condemn to death any one who kills a god of their sort. Every province even, and every 
city, has its god. Syria has Astarte, Arabia has Dusares, the Norici have Belenus, Africa has 
its Caelestis, Mauritania has its own princes. I have spoken, I think, of Roman provinces, 
and yet I have not said their gods are Roman; for they are not worshipped at Rome any more 
than others who are ranked as deities over Italy itself by municipal consecration, such as 
Delventinus of Casinum, Visidianus of Narnia, Ancharia of Asculum, Nortia of Volsinii, 
Valentia of Ocriculum, Hostia of Satrium, Father Curis of Falisci, in honour of whom, too, 
Juno got her surname. In, fact, we alone are prevented having a religion of our own. We 


113 [Observe our author’s assertion that in its own nature, worship must be a voluntary act, and note this 
expression libertatem religionis.] 


69 



Chapter XXIV. 


give offence to the Romans, we are excluded from the rights and privileges of Romans, be- 
cause we do not worship the gods of Rome. It is well that there is a God of all, whose we all 
are, whether we will or no. But with you liberty is given to worship any god but the true 
God, as though He were not rather the God all should worship, to whom all belong. 


70 



Chapter XXV. 


Chapter XXV. 

I think I have offered sufficient proof upon the question of false and true divinity, having 
shown that the proof rests not merely on debate and argument, but on the witness of the 
very beings whom you believe are gods, so that the point needs no further handling. However, 
having been led thus naturally to speak of the Romans, I shall not avoid the controversy 
which is invited by the groundless assertion of those who maintain that, as a reward of their 
singular homage to religion, the Romans have been raised to such heights of power as to 
have become masters of the world; and that so certainly divine are the beings they worship, 
that those prosper beyond all others, who beyond all others honour them . 1 14 This, forsooth, 
is the wages the gods have paid the Romans for their devotion. The progress of the empire 
is to be ascribed to Sterculus, the Mutunus, and Larentina! For I can hardly think that foreign 
gods would have been disposed to show more favour to an alien race than to their own, and 
given their own fatherland, in which they had their birth, grew up to manhood, became il- 
lustrious, and at last were buried, over to invaders from another shore! As for Cybele, if she 
set her affections on the city of Rome as sprung of the Trojan stock saved from the arms of 
Greece, she herself forsooth being of the same race, — if she foresaw her transference 115 to 
the avenging people by whom Greece the conqueror of Phrygia was to be subdued, let her 
look to it (in regard of her native country’s conquest by Greece). Why, too, even in these 
days the Mater Magna has given a notable proof of her greatness which she has conferred 
as a boon upon the city; when, after the loss to the State of Marcus Aurelius at Sirmium, on 
the sixteenth before the Kalends of April, that most sacred high priest of hers was offering, 
a week after, impure libations of blood drawn from his own arms, and issuing his commands 
that the ordinary prayers should be made for the safety of the emperor already dead. O tardy 
messengers! O sleepy despatches! through whose fault Cybele had not an earlier knowledge 
of the imperial decease, that the Christians might have no occasion to ridicule a goddess so 
unworthy. Jupiter, again, would surely never have permitted his own Crete to fall at once 
before the Roman Fasces, forgetful of that Idean cave and the Corybantian cymbals, and 
the sweet odour of her who nursed him there. Would he not have exalted his own tomb 
above the entire Capitol, that the land which covered the ashes of Jove might rather be the 
mistress of the world? Would Juno have desired the destruction of the Punic city, beloved 
even to the neglect of Samos, and that by a nation of /Encadae? As to that I know, “Here 
were her arms, here was her chariot, this kingdom, if the Fates permit, the goddess tends 
and cherishes to be mistress of the nations .” 116 Jove’s hapless wife and sister had no power 
to prevail against the Fates! “Jupiter himself is sustained by fate.” And yet the Romans have 


114 [See Augustine’s City of God, III. xvii. p. 95, Ed. Migne.] 

115 Her image was taken from Pessinus to Rome. 

1 16 [Familiar reference to Virgil, Aineid, I. 15.] 

71 



Chapter XXV. 


never done such homage to the Fates, which gave them Carthage against the purpose and 
the will of Juno, as to the abandoned harlot Larentina. It is undoubted that not a few of your 
gods have reigned on earth as kings. If, then, they now possess the power of bestowing empire, 
when they were kings themselves, from whence had they received their kingly honours? 
Whom did Jupiter and Saturn worship? A Sterculus, I suppose. But did the Romans, along 
with the native-born inhabitants, afterwards adore also some who were never kings? In that 
case, however, they were under the reign of others, who did not yet bow down to them, as 
not yet raised to godhead. It belongs to others, then, to make gift of kingdoms, since there 
were kings before these gods had their names on the roll of divinities. But how utterly foolish 
it is to attribute the greatness of the Roman name to religious merits, since it was after Rome 
became an empire, or call it still a kingdom, that the religion she professes made its chief 
progress! Is it the case now? Has its religion been the source of the prosperity of Rome? 
Though Numa set agoing an eagerness after superstitious observances, yet religion among 
the Romans was not yet a matter of images or temples. It was frugal in its ways, its rites were 
simple, and there were no capitols struggling to the heavens; but the altars were offhand 
ones of turf, and the sacred vessels were yet of Samian earthen-ware, and from these the 
odours rose, and no likeness of God was to be seen. For at that time the skill of the Greeks 
and Tuscans in image-making had not yet overrun the city with the products of their art. 
The Romans, therefore, were not distinguished for their devotion to the gods before they 
attained to greatness; and so their greatness was not the result of their religion. Indeed, how 
could religion make a people great who have owed their greatness to their irreligion? For, 
if I am not mistaken, kingdoms and empires are acquired by wars, and are extended by 
victories. More than that, you cannot have wars and victories without the taking, and often 
the destruction, of cities. That is a thing in which the gods have their share of calamity. 
Houses and temples suffer alike; there is indiscriminate slaughter of priests and citizens; 
the hand of rapine is laid equally upon sacred and on common treasure. Thus the sacrileges 
of the Romans are as numerous as their trophies. They boast as many triumphs over the 
gods as over the nations; as many spoils of battle they have still, as there remain images of 
captive deities. And the poor gods submit to be adored by their enemies, and they ordain 
illimitable empire to those whose injuries rather than their simulated homage should have 
had retribution at their hands. But divinities unconscious are with impunity dishonoured, 
just as in vain they are adored. You certainly never can believe that devotion to religion has 
evidently advanced to greatness a people who, as we have put it, have either grown by injuring 
religion, or have injured religion by their growth. Those, too, whose kingdoms have become 
part of the one great whole of the Roman empire, were not without religion when their 
kingdoms were taken from them. 


72 



Chapter XXVI. 


Chapter XXVI. 

Examine then, and see if He be not the dispenser of kingdoms, who is Lord at once of 
the world which is ruled, and of man himself who rules; if He have not ordained the changes 
of dynasties, with their appointed seasons, who was before all time, and made the world a 
body of times; if the rise and the fall of states are not the work of Him, under whose sover- 
eignty the human race once existed without states at all. How do you allow yourselves to 
fall into such error? Why, the Rome of rural simplicity is older than some of her gods; she 
reigned before her proud, vast Capitol was built. The Babylonians exercised dominion, too, 
before the days of the Pontiffs; and the Medes before the Quindecemvirs; and the Egyptians 
before the Salii; and the Assyrians before the Luperci; and the Amazons before the Vestal 
Virgins. And to add another point: if the religions of Rome give empire, ancient Judea would 
never have been a kingdom, despising as it did one and all these idol deities; Judea, whose 
God you Romans once honoured with victims, and its temple with gifts, and its people with 
treaties; and which would never have been beneath your sceptre but for that last and 
crowning offence against God, in rejecting and crucifying Christ. 


73 



Chapter XXVII. 


Chapter XXVII. 

Enough has been said in these remarks to confute the charge of treason against your re 
ligion: for we cannot be held to do harm to that which has no existence. When we are called 
therefore to sacrifice, we resolutely refuse, relying on the knowledge we possess, by which 
we are well assured of the real objects to whom these services are offered, under profaning 
of images and the deification of human names. Some, indeed, think it a piece of insanity 
that, when it is in our power to offer sacrifice at once, and go away unharmed, holding as 
ever our convictions, we prefer an obstinate persistence in our confession to our safety. You 
advise us, forsooth, to take unjust advantage of you; but we know whence such suggestions 
come, who is at the bottom of it all, and how every effort is made, now by cunning suasion, 
and now by merciless persecution, to overthrow our constancy. No other than that spirit, 
half devil and half angel, who, hating us because of his own separation from God, and stirred 
with envy for the favour God has shown us, turns your minds against us by an occult influ- 
ence, moulding and instigating them to all that perversity in judgment, and that unrighteous 
cruelty, which we have mentioned at the beginning of our work, when entering on this dis- 
cussion. For, though the whole power of demons and kindred spirits is subject to us, yet 
still, as ill-disposed slaves sometimes conjoin contumacy with fear, and delight to injure 
those of whom they at the same time stand in awe, so is it here. For fear also inspires hatred. 
Besides, in their desperate condition, as already under condemnation, it gives them some 
comfort, while punishment delays, to have the usufruct of their malignant dispositions. And 
yet, when hands are laid on them, they are subdued at once, and submit to their lot; and 
those whom at a distance they oppose, in close quarters they supplicate for mercy. So when, 
like insurrectionary workhouses, or prisons, or mines, or any such penal slaveries, they 
break forth against us their masters, they know all the while that they are not a match for 
us, and just on that account, indeed, rush the more recklessly to destruction. We resist them, 
unwillingly, as though they were equals, and contend against them by persevering in that 
which they assail; and our triumph over them is never more complete than when we are 
condemned for resolute adherence to our faith. 


74 



Chapter XXVIII. 


Chapter XXVIII. 

But as it was easily seen to be unjust to compel freemen against their will to offer sacrifice 
(for even in other acts of religious service a willing mind is required), it should be counted 
quite absurd for one man to compel another to do honour to the gods, when he ought ever 
voluntarily, and in the sense of his own need, to seek their favour, lest in the liberty which 
is his right he should be ready to say, “I want none of Jupiter’s favours; pray who art thou? 
Let Janus meet me with angry looks, with whichever of his faces he likes; what have you to 
do with me?” You have been led, no doubt, by these same evil spirits to compel us to offer 
sacrifice for the well-being of the emperor; and you are under a necessity of using force, just 
as we are under an obligation to face the dangers of it. This brings us, then, to the second 
ground of accusation, that we are guilty of treason against a majesty more august; for you 
do homage with a greater dread and an intenser reverence to Caesar, than Olympian Jove 
himself. And if you knew it, upon sufficient grounds. For is not any living man better than 
a dead one, whoever he be? But this is not done by you on any other ground than regard to 
a power whose presence you vividly realize; so that also in this you are convicted of impiety 
to your gods, inasmuch as you show a greater reverence to a human sovereignty than you 
do to them. Then, too, among you, people far more readily swear a false oath in the name 
of all the gods, than in the name of the single genius of Caesar. 


75 



Chapter XXIX. 


Chapter XXIX. 

Let it be made clear, then, first of all, if those to whom sacrifice is offered are really able 
to protect either emperor or anybody else, and so adjudge us guilty of treason, if angels and 
demons, spirits of most wicked nature, do any good, if the lost save, if the condemned give 
liberty, if the dead (I refer to what you know well enough) defend the living. For surely the 
first thing they would look to would be the protection of their statues, and images, and 
temples, which rather owe their safety, I think, to the watch kept by Caesar’s guards. Nay, I 
think the very materials of which these are made come from Caesar’s mines, and there is 
not a temple but depends on Caesar’s will. Yes, and many gods have felt the displeasure of 
the Caesar. It makes for my argument if they are also partakers of his favour, when he bestows 
on them some gift or privilege. How shall they who are thus in Caesar’s power, who belong 
entirely to him, have Caesar’s protection in their hands, so that you can imagine them able 
to give to Caesar what they more readily get from him? This, then, is the ground on which 
we are charged with treason against the imperial majesty, to wit, that we do not put the 
emperors under their own possessions; that we do not offer a mere mock service on their 
behalf, as not believing their safety rests in leaden hands. But you are impious in a high degree 
who look for it where it is not, who seek it from those who have it not to give, passing by 
Him who has it entirely in His power. Besides this, you persecute those who know where 
to seek for it, and who, knowing where to seek for it, are able as well to secure it. 


76 



Chapter XXX. 


Chapter XXX. 

For we offer prayer for the safety of our princes to the eternal, the true, the living God, 
whose favour, beyond all others, they must themselves desire. They know from whom they 
have obtained their power; they know, as they are men, from whom they have received life 
itself; they are convinced that He is God alone, on whose power alone they are entirely de- 
pendent, to whom they are second, after whom they occupy the highest places, before and 
above all the gods. Why not, since they are above all living men, and the living, as living, 
are superior to the dead? They reflect upon the extent of their power, and so they come to 
understand the highest; they acknowledge that they have all their might from Him against 
whom their might is nought. Let the emperor make war on heaven; let him lead heaven 
captive in his triumph; let him put guards on heaven; let him impose taxes on heaven! He 
cannot. Just because he is less than heaven, he is great. For he himself is His to whom 
heaven and every creature appertains. He gets his sceptre where he first got his humanity; 
his power where he got the breath of life. Thither we lift our eyes, with hands outstretched, 
because free from sin; with head uncovered, for we have nothing whereof to be ashamed; 
finally, without a monitor, because it is from the heart we supplicate. Without ceasing, for 
all our emperors we offer prayer. We pray for life prolonged; for security to the empire; for 
protection to the imperial house; for brave armies, a faithful senate, a virtuous people, the 
world at rest, whatever, as man or Caesar, an emperor would wish. These things I cannot 
ask from any but the God from whom I know I shall obtain them, both because He alone 
bestows them and because I have claims upon Him for their gift, as being a servant of His, 
rendering homage to Him alone, persecuted for His doctrine, offering to Him, at His own 
requirement, that costly and noble sacrifice of prayer despatched from the chaste body, 
an unstained soul, a sanctified spirit, not the few grains of incense a farthing buys — tears 

of an Arabian tree, — not a few drops of wine, — not the blood of some worthless ox to which 
death is a relief, and, in addition to other offensive things, a polluted conscience, so that one 
wonders, when your victims are examined by these vile priests, why the examination is not 
rather of the sacrificers than the sacrifices. With our hands thus stretched out and up to 
God, rend us with your iron claws, hang us up on crosses, wrap us in flames, take our heads 
from us with the sword, let loose the wild beasts on us, — the very attitude of a Christian 
praying is one of preparation for all punishment . 119 Let this, good rulers, be your work: 


117 Heb. x. 22. [See cap. xlii. infra, p. 49.] 

118 [Once more this reflection on the use of material incense, which is common to early Christians, as in 
former volumes noted.] 

119 [A reference to kneeling, which see the de Corona cap. 3, infra. Christians are represented as standing at 
prayer, in the delineations of the Catacombs. But, see Nicene Canon, xx.] 


77 


Chapter XXX. 


wring from us the soul, beseeching God on the emperor’s behalf. Upon the truth of God, 
and devotion to His name, put the brand of crime. 


78 



Chapter XXXI. 


Chapter XXXI. 

But we merely, you say, flatter the emperor, and feign these prayers of ours to escape 
persecution. Thank you for your mistake, for you give us the opportunity of proving our 
allegations. Do you, then, who think that we care nothing for the welfare of Caesar, look 
into God’s revelations, examine our sacred books, which we do not keep in hiding, and 
which many accidents put into the hands of those who are not of us. Learn from them that 
a large benevolence is enjoined upon us, even so far as to supplicate God for our enemies, 
and to beseech blessings on our persecutors. Who, then, are greater enemies and perse- 
cutors of Christians, than the very parties with treason against whom we are charged? Nay, 
even in terms, and most clearly, the Scripture says, “Pray for kings, and rulers, and powers, 
that all may be peace with you.” For when there is disturbance in the empire, if the 
commotion is felt by its other members, surely we too, though we are not thought to be 
given to disorder, are to be found in some place or other which the calamity affects. 


120 Matt. v. 44. 

121 1 Tim. ii. 2. 


79 


Chapter XXXII. 


Chapter XXXII. 

There is also another and a greater necessity for our offering prayer in behalf of the 
emperors, nay, for the complete stability of the empire, and for Roman interests in general. 
For we know that a mighty shock impending over the whole earth — in fact, the very end of 
all things threatening dreadful woes — is only retarded by the continued existence of the 
Roman empire. We have no desire, then, to be overtaken by these dire events; and in 
praying that their coming may be delayed, we are lending our aid to Rome’s duration. More 
than this, though we decline to swear by the genii of the Caesars, we swear by their safety, 
which is worth far more than all your genii. Are you ignorant that these genii are called 
“Daemones,” and thence the diminutive name “Daemonia” is applied to them? We respect 
in the emperors the ordinance of God, who has set them over the nations. We know that 
there is that in them which God has willed; and to what God has willed we desire all safety, 
and we count an oath by it a great oath. But as for demons, that is, your genii, we have been 
in the habit of exorcising them, not of swearing by them, and thereby conferring on them 
divine honour. 


122 [Cap. xxxix. infra. And see Kaye, pp. 20, 348. A subject of which more hereafter.] 


80 



Chapter XXXIII. 


Chapter XXXIII. 

But why dwell longer on the reverence and sacred respect of Christians to the emperor, 
whom we cannot but look up to as called by our Lord to his office? So that on valid grounds 
I might say Caesar is more ours than yours, for our God has appointed him. Therefore, as 
having this propriety in him, I do more than you for his welfare, not merely because I ask 
it of Him who can give it, or because I ask it as one who deserves to get it, but also because, 
in keeping the majesty of Caesar within due limits, and putting it under the Most High, and 
making it less than divine, I commend him the more to the favour of Deity, to whom I make 
him alone inferior. But I place him in subjection to one I regard as more glorious than 
himself. Never will I call the emperor God, and that either because it is not in me to be 
guilty of falsehood; or that I dare not turn him into ridicule; or that not even himself will 
desire to have that high name applied to him. If he is but a man, it is his interest as man to 
give God His higher place. Let him think it enough to bear the name of emperor. That, too, 
is a great name of God’s giving. To call him God, is to rob him of his title. If he is not a man, 
emperor he cannot be. Even when, amid the honours of a triumph, he sits on that lofty 
chariot, he is reminded that he is only human. A voice at his back keeps whispering in his 
ear, “Look behind thee; remember thou art but a man.” And it only adds to his exultation, 
that he shines with a glory so surpassing as to require an admonitory reference to his condi- 

no 

tion. It adds to his greatness that he needs such a reminiscence, lest he should think 
himself divine. 


123 [A familiar story of Alexander is alluded to.] 


81 



Chapter XXXIV. 


Chapter XXXIV. 

Augustus, the founder of the empire, would not even have the title Lord; for that, too, 
is a name of Deity. For my part, I am willing to give the emperor this designation, but in 
the common acceptation of the word, and when I am not forced to call him Lord as in God’s 
place. But my relation to him is one of freedom; for I have but one true Lord, the God om- 
nipotent and eternal, who is Lord of the emperor as well. How can he, who is truly father 
of his country, be its lord? The name of piety is more grateful than the name of power; so 
the heads of families are called fathers rather than lords. Far less should the emperor have 
the name of God. We can only profess our belief that he is that by the most unworthy, nay, 
a fatal flattery; it is just as if, having an emperor, you call another by the name, in which case 
will you not give great and unappeasable offence to him who actually reigns? — an offence 
he, too, needs to fear on whom you have bestowed the title. Give all reverence to God, if 
you wish Him to be propitious to the emperor. Give up all worship of, and belief in, any 
other being as divine. Cease also to give the sacred name to him who has need of God himself. 
If such adulation is not ashamed of its lie, in addressing a man as divine, let it have some 
dread at least of the evil omen which it bears. It is the invocation of a curse, to give Caesar 
the name of god before his apotheosis. 


82 



Chapter XXXV. 


Chapter XXXV. 

This is the reason, then, why Christians are counted public enemies: that they pay no 
vain, nor false, nor foolish honours to the emperor; that, as men believing in the true religion, 
they prefer to celebrate their festal days with a good conscience, instead of with the common 
wantonness. It is, forsooth, a notable homage to bring fires and couches out before the 
public, to have feasting from street to street, to turn the city into one great tavern, to make 
mud with wine, to run in troops to acts of violence, to deeds of shamelessness to lust allure- 
ments! What! is public joy manifested by public disgrace? Do things unseemly at other times 
beseem the festal days of princes? Do they who observe the rules of virtue out of reverence 
for Caesar, for his sake turn aside from them? Shall piety be a license to immoral deeds, and 
shall religion be regarded as affording the occasion for all riotous extravagance? Poor we, 
worthy of all condemnation! For why do we keep the votive days and high rejoicings in 
honour of the Caesars with chastity, sobriety, and virtue? Why, on the day of gladness, do 
we neither cover our door-posts with laurels, nor intrude upon the day with lamps? It is a 
proper thing, at the call of a public festivity, to dress your house up like some newbrothel . 124 
However, in the matter of this homage to a lesser majesty, in reference to which we are ac- 
cused of a lower sacrilege, because we do not celebrate along with you the holidays of the 
Caesars in a manner forbidden alike by modesty, decency, and purity, — in truth they have 
been established rather as affording opportunities for licentiousness than from any worthy 
motive; — in this matter I am anxious to point out how faithful and true you are, lest perchance 
here also those who will not have us counted Romans, but enemies of Rome’s chief rulers, 
be found themselves worse than we wicked Christians! I appeal to the inhabitants of Rome 
themselves, to the native population of the seven hills: does that Roman vernacular of theirs 
ever spare a Caesar? The Tiber and the wild beasts’ schools bear witness. Say now if nature 
had covered our hearts with a transparent substance through which the light could pass, 
whose hearts, all graven over, would not betray the scene of another and another Caesar 
presiding at the distribution of a largess? And this at the very time they are shouting, “May 
Jupiter take years from us, and with them lengthen like to you,” — words as foreign to the 
lips of a Christian as it is out of keeping with his character to desire a change of emperor. 
But this is the rabble, you say; yet, as the rabble, they still are Romans, and none more fre- 
quently than they demand the death of Christians. Of course, then, the other classes, as 
befits their higher rank, are religiously faithful. No breath of treason is there ever in the 
senate, in the equestrian order, in the camp, in the palace. Whence, then, came a Cassius, 
a Niger, an Albinus? Whence they who beset the Caesar between the two laurel groves? 


124 [Note this reference to a shameless custom of the heathen in Rome and elsewhere.] 

125 [See cap. 1. and Note on cap. xl. infra.] 

126 Commodus. 


83 



Chapter XXXV. 


Whence they who practised wrestling, that they might acquire skill to strangle him? Whence 

197 

they who in full armour broke into the palace, more audacious than all your Tigerii and 
Parthenii. If I mistake not, they were Romans; that is, they were not Christians. Yet all 
of them, on the very eve of their traitorous outbreak, offered sacrifices for the safety of the 
emperor, and swore by his genius, one thing in profession, and another in the heart; and 
no doubt they were in the habit of calling Christians enemies of the state. Yes, and persons 
who are now daily brought to light as confederates or approvers of these crimes and treasons, 
the still remnant gleanings after a vintage of traitors, with what verdant and branching 
laurels they clad their door-posts, with what lofty and brilliant lamps they smoked their 
porches, with what most exquisite and gaudy couches they divided the Forum among 
themselves; not that they might celebrate public rejoicings, but that they might get a foretaste 
of their own votive seasons in partaking of the festivities of another, and inaugurate the 
model and image of their hope, changing in their minds the emperor’s name. The same 
homage is paid, dutifully too, by those who consult astrologers, and soothsayers, and augurs, 
and magicians, about the life of the Caesars, — arts which, as made known by the angels who 
sinned, and forbidden by God, Christians do not even make use of in their own affairs. But 
who has any occasion to inquire about the life of the emperor, if he have not some wish or 
thought against it, or some hopes and expectations after it? For consultations of this sort 
have not the same motive in the case of friends as in the case of sovereigns. The anxiety of 
a kinsman is something very different from that of a subject. 


127 TomurderPertinax. 

128 Tigerius and Parthenius were among the murderers of Commodus. 


84 



Chapter XXXVI. 


Chapter XXXVI. 

If it is the fact that men bearing the name of Romans are found to be enemies of Rome, 
why are we, on the ground that we are regarded as enemies, denied the name of Romans? 
We may be at once Romans and foes of Rome, when men passing for Romans are discovered 
to be enemies of their country. So the affection, and fealty, and reverence, due to the emper- 
ors do not consist in such tokens of homage as these, which even hostility may be zealous 
in performing, chiefly as a cloak to its purposes; but in those ways which Deity as certainly 
enjoins on us, as they are held to be necessary in the case of all men as well as emperors. 
Deeds of true heart-goodness are not due by us to emperors alone. We never do good with 
respect of persons; for in our own interest we conduct ourselves as those who take no payment 
either of praise or premium from man, but from God, who both requires and remunerates 
an impartial benevolence. We are the same to emperors as to our ordinary neighbors. 
For we are equally forbidden to wish ill, to do ill, to speak ill, to think ill of all men. The 
thing we must not do to an emperor, we must not do to any one else: what we would not 
do to anybody, a fortiori, perhaps we should not do to him whom God has been pleased so 
highly to exalt. 


129 [Cap. ix. p. 25, note 1 supra. Again, Christian democracy, “honouring all men.”] 


85 



Chapter XXXVII. 


Chapter XXXVII. 

If we are enjoined, then, to love our enemies, as I have remarked above, whom have we 
to hate? If injured, we are forbidden to retaliate, lest we become as bad ourselves: who can 
suffer injury at our hands? In regard to this, recall your own experiences. How often you 
inflict gross cruelties on Christians, partly because it is your own inclination, and partly in 
obedience to the laws! How often, too, the hostile mob, paying no regard to you, takes the 
law into its own hand, and assails us with stones and flames! With the very frenzy of the 
Bacchanals, they do not even spare the Christian dead, but tear them, now sadly changed, 
no longer entire, from the rest of the tomb, from the asylum we might say of death, cutting 
them in pieces, rending them asunder. Yet, banded together as we are, ever so ready to sac- 
rifice our lives, what single case of revenge for injury are you able to point to, though, if it 
were held right among us to repay evil by evil, a single night with a torch or two could 
achieve an ample vengeance? But away with the idea of a sect divine avenging itself by human 
fires, or shrinking from the sufferings in which it is tried. If we desired, indeed, to act the 
part of open enemies, not merely of secret avengers, would there be any lacking in strength, 
whether of numbers or resources? The Moors, the Marcomanni, the Parthians themselves, 
or any single people, however great, inhabiting a distinct territory, and confined within its 
own boundaries, surpasses, forsooth, in numbers, one spread over all the world! We are but 
of yesterday, and we have filled every place among you — cities, islands, fortresses, towns, 
market-places, the very camp, tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum, — we have left 
nothing to you but the temples of your gods. For what wars should we not be fit, not eager, 
even with unequal forces, we who so willingly yield ourselves to the sword, if in our religion 
it were not counted better to be slain than to slay? Without arms even, and raising no insur- 
rectionary banner, but simply in enmity to you, we could carry on the contest with you by 
an ill-willed severance alone. For if such multitudes of men were to break away from you, 
and betake themselves to some remote corner of the world, why, the very loss of so many 
citizens, whatever sort they were, would cover the empire with shame; nay, in the very for- 
saking, vengeance would be inflicted. Why, you would be horror-struck at the solitude in 
which you would find yourselves, at such an all-prevailing silence, and that stupor as of a 
dead world. You would have to seek subjects to govern. You would have more enemies than 
citizens remaining. For now it is the immense number of Christians which makes your en- 
emies so few, — almost all the inhabitants of your various cities being followers of Christ. 
Yet you choose to call us enemies of the human race, rather than of human error. Nay, who 
would deliver you from those secret foes, ever busy both destroying your souls and ruining 
your health? Who would save you, I mean, from the attacks of those spirits of evil, which 
without reward or hire we exorcise? This alone would be revenge enough for us, that you 


130 [Elucidation VI.] 


86 



Chapter XXXVII. 


were henceforth left free to the possession of unclean spirits. But instead of taking into ac- 
count what is due to us for the important protection we afford you, and though we are not 
merely no trouble to you, but in fact necessary to your well-being, you prefer to hold us 
enemies, as indeed we are, yet not of man, but rather of his error. 


87 



Chapter XXXVIII. 


Chapter XXXVIII. 

Ought not Christians, therefore, to receive not merely a somewhat milder treatment, 
but to have a place among the law-tolerated societies, seeing they are not chargeable with 
any such crimes as are commonly dreaded from societies of the illicit class? For, unless I 
mistake the matter, the prevention of such associations is based on a prudential regard to 
public order, that the state may not be divided into parties, which would naturally lead to 
disturbance in the electoral assemblies, the councils, the curiae, the special conventions, even 
in the public shows by the hostile collisions of rival parties; especially when now, in pursuit 
of gain, men have begun to consider their violence an article to be bought and sold. But as 
those in whom all ardour in the pursuit of glory and honour is dead, we have no pressing 
inducement to take part in your public meetings; nor is there aught more entirely foreign 
to us than affairs of state. We acknowledge one all-embracing commonwealth — the world. 
We renounce all your spectacles, as strongly as we renounce the matters originating them, 
which we know were conceived of superstition, when we give up the very things which are 
the basis of their representations. Among us nothing is ever said, or seen, or heard, which 
has anything in common with the madness of the circus, the immodesty of the theatre, the 
atrocities of the arena, the useless exercises of the wrestling-ground. Why do you take offence 
at us because we differ from you in regard to your pleasures? If we will not partake of your 
enjoyments, the loss is ours, if there be loss in the case, not yours. We reject what pleases 
you. You, on the other hand, have no taste for what is our delight. The Epicureans were 
allowed by you to decide for themselves one true source of pleasure — I mean equanimity; 
the Christian, on his part, has many such enjoyments — what harm in that? 


88 



Chapter XXXIX. 


Chapter XXXIX. 

I shall at once go on, then, to exhibit the peculiarities of the Christian society, that, as I 

1 O 1 

have refuted the evil charged against it, I may point out its positive good. We are a body 
knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the 
bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering 
up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This 
violence God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in 
authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final 
consummation. We assemble to read our sacred writings, if any peculiarity of the times 
makes either forewarning or reminiscence needful. ' However it be in that respect, with 
the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more 
stedfast; and no less by inculcations of God’s precepts we confirm good habits. In the same 
place also exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with 
a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured 
that they are in the sight of God; and you have the most notable example of judgment to 
come when any one has sinned so grievously as to require his severance from us in prayer, 
in the congregation and in all sacred intercourse. The tried men of our elders preside over 
us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character. There is no buying 
and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not 
made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day , 134 if 
he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: 
for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are, as it were, piety’s deposit fund. 
For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, 
but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means 
and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered 
shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut 
up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God’s Church, they become 
the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many 

1 or 

to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for themselves are anim- 
ated by mutual hatred; how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves 
will sooner put to death. And they are wroth with us, too, because we call each other brethren; 


131 [Elucidation VII.] 

132 [Chap, xxxii. supra p. 43.] 

133 [An argument for Days of Public Thanksgiving, Fasting and the like.] 

134 [On ordinary Sundays, “they laid by in store,” apparendy: once a month they offered.] 

135 [A precious testimony, though the caviller asserts that afterwards the heathen used this expression deris- 
ively.] 


89 



Chapter XXXIX. 


for no other reason, as I think, than because among themselves names of consanguinity are 
assumed in mere pretence of affection. But we are your brethren as well, by the law of our 
common mother nature, though you are hardly men, because brothers so unkind. At the 
same time, how much more fittingly they are called and counted brothers who have been 
led to the knowledge of God as their common Father, who have drunk in one spirit of 
holiness, who from the same womb of a common ignorance have agonized into the same 
light of truth! But on this very account, perhaps, we are regarded as having less claim to be 
held true brothers, that no tragedy makes a noise about our brotherhood, or that the family 
possessions, which generally destroy brotherhood among you, create fraternal bonds among 
us. One in mind and soul, we do not hesitate to share our earthly goods with one another. 
All things are common among us but our wives. We give up our community where it is 
practised alone by others, who not only take possession of the wives of their friends, but 
most tolerantly also accommodate their friends with theirs, following the example, I believe, 
of those wise men of ancient times, the Greek Socrates and the Roman Cato, who shared 
with their friends the wives whom they had married, it seems for the sake of progeny both 
to themselves and to others; whether in this acting against their partners’ wishes, I am not 
able to say. Why should they have any care over their chastity, when their husbands so 
readily bestowed it away? O noble example of Attic wisdom, of Roman gravity — the philo- 
sopher and the censor playing pimps! What wonder if that great love of Christians towards 
one another is desecrated by you! For you abuse also our humble feasts, on the ground that 
they are extravagant as well as infamously wicked. To us, it seems, applies the saying of 
Diogenes: “The people of Megara feast as though they were going to die on the morrow; 
they build as though they were never to die!” But one sees more readily the mote in another’s 
eye than the beam in his own. Why, the very air is soured with the eructations of so many 
tribes, and curiae, and decurice. The Salii cannot have their feast without going into debt; 
you must get the accountants to tell you what the tenths of Hercules and the sacrificial 
banquets cost; the choicest cook is appointed for the Apaturia, the Dionysia, the Attic 
mysteries; the smoke from the banquet of Serapis will call out the firemen. Yet about the 
modest supper-room of the Christians alone a great ado is made. Our feast explains itself 
by its name. The Greeks call it agape, i.e., affection. Whatever it costs, our outlay in the 
name of piety is gain, since with the good things of the feast we benefit the needy; not as it 
is with you, do parasites aspire to the glory of satisfying their licentious propensities, selling 
themselves for a belly-feast to all disgraceful treatment, — but as it is with God himself, a 
peculiar respect is shown to the lowly. If the object of our feast be good, in the light of that 
consider its further regulations. As it is an act of religious service, it permits no vileness or 
immodesty. The participants, before reclining, taste first of prayer to God. As much is eaten 
as satisfies the cravings of hunger; as much is drunk as befits the chaste. They say it is 
enough, as those who remember that even during the night they have to worship God; they 


90 



Chapter XXXIX. 


talk as those who know that the Lord is one of their auditors. After manual ablution, and 
the bringing in of lights, each is asked to stand forth and sing, as he can, a hymn to God, 
either one from the holy Scriptures or one of his own composing, — a proof of the measure 
of our drinking. As the feast commenced with prayer, so with prayer it is closed. We go 
from it, not like troops of mischief-doers, nor bands of vagabonds, nor to break out into li- 
centious acts, but to have as much care of our modesty and chastity as if we had been at a 
school of virtue rather than a banquet. Give the congregation of the Christians its due, and 
hold it unlawful, if it is like assemblies of the illicit sort: by all means let it be condemned, 
if any complaint can be validly laid against it, such as lies against secret factions. But who 
has ever suffered harm from our assemblies? We are in our congregations just what we are 
when separated from each other; we are as a community what we are individuals; we injure 
nobody, we trouble nobody. When the upright, when the virtuous meet together, when the 
pious, when the pure assemble in congregation, you ought not to call that a faction, but a 
curia — [i.e., the court of God.] 


136 [Or, perhaps — “One is prompted to stand forth and bring to God, as every one can, whether from the 

Holy Scriptures, or of his own mind” — i.e. according to his taste.] 


91 



Chapter XL. 


Chapter XL. 

On the contrary, they deserve the name of faction who conspire to bring odium on good 
men and virtuous, who cry out against innocent blood, offering as the justification of their 
enmity the baseless plea, that they think the Christians the cause of every public disaster, of 
every affliction with which the people are visited. If the Tiber rises as high as the city walls, 
if the Nile does not send its waters up over the fields, if the heavens give no rain, if there is 
an earthquake, if there is famine or pestilence, straightway the cry is, “Away with the 
Christians to the lion!” What! shall you give such multitudes to a single beast? Pray, tell me 
how many calamities befell the world and particular cities before Tiberius reigned — before 
the coming, that is, of Christ? We read of the islands of Hiera, and Anaphe, and Delos, and 
Rhodes, and Cos, with many thousands of human beings, having been swallowed up. Plato 
informs us that a region larger than Asia or Africa was seized by the Atlantic Ocean. An 
earthquake, too, drank up the Corinthian sea; and the force of the waves cut off a part of 
Lucania, whence it obtained the name of Sicily. These things surely could not have taken 
place without the inhabitants suffering by them. But where — I do not say were Christians, 
those despisers of your gods — but where were your gods themselves in those days, when 
the flood poured its destroying waters over all the world, or, as Plato thought, merely the 
level portion of it? For that they are of later date than that calamity, the very cities in which 
they were born and died, nay, which they founded, bear ample testimony; for the cities could 
have no existence at this day unless as belonging to postdiluvian times. Palestine had not 
yet received from Egypt its Jewish swarm (of emigrants), nor had the race from which 
Christians sprung yet settled down there, when its neighbors Sodom and Gomorrah were 
consumed by fire from heaven. The country yet smells of that conflagration; and if there 
are apples there upon the trees, it is only a promise to the eye they give — you but touch 
them, and they turn to ashes. Nor had Tuscia and Campania to complain of Christians in 
the days when fire from heaven overwhelmed Vulsinii, and Pompeii was destroyed by fire 
from its own mountain. No one yet worshipped the true God at Rome, when Hannibal at 
Cannae counted the Roman slain by the pecks of Roman rings. Your gods were all objects 
of adoration, universally acknowledged, when the Senones closely besieged the very Capitol. 
And it is in keeping with all this, that if adversity has at any time befallen cities, the temples 
and the walls have equally shared in the disaster, so that it is clear to demonstration the 
thing was not the doing of the gods, seeing it also overtook themselves. The truth is, the 
human race has always deserved ill at God’s hand. First of all, as undutiful to Him, because 
when it knew Him in part, it not only did not seek after Him, but even invented other gods 
of its own to worship; and further, because, as the result of their willing ignorance of the 
Teacher of righteousness, the Judge and Avenger of sin, all vices and crimes grew and 


137 [Christianos ad leonem. From what class, chiefly, see cap. xxxv. supra. Elucidation VIII.] 


92 



Chapter XL. 


flourished. But had men sought, they would have come to know the glorious object of their 
seeking; and knowledge would have produced obedience, and obedience would have found 
a gracious instead of an angry God. They ought then to see that the very same God is angry 
with them now as in ancient times, before Christians were so much as spoken of. It was His 
blessings they enjoyed — created before they made any of their deities: and why can they not 
take it in, that their evils come from the Being whose goodness they have failed to recognize? 
They suffer at the hands of Him to whom they have been ungrateful. And, for all that is said, 
if we compare the calamities of former times, they fall on us more lightly now, since God 
gave Christians to the world; for from that time virtue put some restraint on the world’s 
wickedness, and men began to pray for the averting of God’s wrath. In a word, when the 
summer clouds give no rain, and the season is matter of anxiety, you indeed — full of feasting 
day by day, and ever eager for the banquet, baths and taverns and brothels always 
busy — offer up to Jupiter your rain-sacrifices; you enjoin on the people barefoot processions; 
you seek heaven at the Capitol; you look up to the temple- ceilings for the longed-for 
clouds — God and heaven not in all your thoughts. We, dried up with fastings, and our pas- 
sions bound tightly up, holding back as long as possible from all the ordinary enjoyments 
of life, rolling in sackcloth and ashes, assail heaven with our importunities — touch God’s 
heart — and when we have extorted divine compassion, why, Jupiter gets all the honour! 


93 



Chapter XLI. 


Chapter XLI. 

You, therefore, are the sources of trouble in human affairs; on you lies the blame of 
public adversities, since you are ever attracting them — you by whom God is despised and 
images are worshipped. It should surely seem the more natural thing to believe that it is the 
neglected One who is angry, and not they to whom all homage is paid; or most unjustly they 
act, if, on account of the Christians, they send trouble on their own devotees, whom they 
are bound to keep clear of the punishments of Christians. But this, you say, hits your God 
as well, since He permits His worshippers to suffer on account of those who dishonour Him. 
But admit first of all His providential arrangings, and you will not make this retort. For He 
who once for all appointed an eternal judgment at the world’s close, does not precipitate 
the separation, which is essential to judgment, before the end. Meanwhile He deals with all 
sorts of men alike, so that all together share His favours and reproofs. His will is, that outcasts 
and elect should have adversities and prosperities in common, that we should have all the 
same experience of His goodness and severity. Having learned these things from His own 
lips, we love His goodness, we fear His wrath, while both by you are treated with contempt; 
and hence the sufferings of life, so far as it is our lot to be overtaken by them, are in our case 
gracious admonitions, while in yours they are divine punishments. We indeed are not the 
least put about: for, first, only one thing in this life greatly concerns us, and that is, to get 
quickly out of it; and next, if any adversity befalls us, it is laid to the door of your transgres- 
sions. Nay, though we are likewise involved in troubles because of our close connection 
with you, we are rather glad of it, because we recognize in it divine foretellings, which, in 
fact, go to confirm the confidence and faith of our hope. But if all the evils you endure are 
inflicted on you by the gods you worship out of spite to us, why do you continue to pay 
homage to beings so ungrateful, and unjust; who, instead of being angry with you, should 
rather have been aiding and abetting you by persecuting Christians — keeping you clear of 
their sufferings? 


94 



Chapter XLII. 


Chapter XLII. 

But we are called to account as harm-doers on another ground, and are accused of 
being useless in the affairs of life. How in all the world can that be the case with people who 
are living among you, eating the same food, wearing the same attire, having the same habits, 
under the same necessities of existence? We are not Indian Brahmins or Gymnosophists, 
who dwell in woods and exile themselves from ordinary human life. We do not forget the 
debt of gratitude we owe to God, our Lord and Creator; we reject no creature of His hands, 
though certainly we exercise restraint upon ourselves, lest of any gift of His we make an 
immoderate or sinful use. So we sojourn with you in the world, abjuring neither forum, nor 
shambles, nor bath, nor booth, nor workshop, nor inn, nor weekly market, nor any other 
places of commerce. We sail with you, and fight with you, and till the ground with you; 
and in like manner we unite with you in your traffickings — even in the various arts we make 
public property of our works for your benefit. How it is we seem useless in your ordinary 
business, living with you and by you as we do, I am not able to understand. But if I do not 
frequent your religious ceremonies, I am still on the sacred day a man. I do not at the Sat- 
urnalia bathe myself at dawn, that I may not lose both day and night; yet I bathe at a decent 
and healthful hour, which preserves me both in heat and blood. I can be rigid and pallid 
like you after ablution when I am dead. I do not recline in public at the feast of Bacchus, 
after the manner of the beast-fighters at their final banquet. Yet of your resources I partake, 
wherever I may chance to eat. I do not buy a crown for my head. What matters it to you 
how I use them, if nevertheless the flowers are purchased? I think it more agreeable to have 
them free and loose, waving all about. Even if they are woven into a crown, we smell the 
crown with our nostrils: let those look to it who scent the perfume with their hair. We do 
not go to your spectacles; yet the articles that are sold there, if I need them, I will obtain 
more readily at their proper places. We certainly buy no frankincense. If the Arabias complain 
of this, let the Sabaeans be well assured that their more precious and costly merchandise is 
expended as largely in the burying of Christians 140 as in the fumigating of the gods. At any 
rate, you say, the temple revenues are every day falling off : 141 how few now throw in a 
contribution! In truth, we are not able to give alms both to your human and your heavenly 
mendicants; nor do we think that we are required to give any but to those who ask for it. 
Let Jupiter then hold out his hand and get, for our compassion spends more in the streets 
than yours does in the temples. But your other taxes will acknowledge a debt of gratitude 


138 [Elucidation IX. See Kaye, p. 361.] 

139 [The occupation of a soldier was regarded as lawful therefore. But see, afterwards, the De Corona cap. 
xi.] 

140 [An interesting fact as to the burial-rites of Early Christians. As to incense, see cap. xxx. supra, p. 42.] 

141 An index of the growth of Christianity. 


95 



Chapter XLII. 


to Christians; for in the faithfulness which keeps us from fraud upon a brother, we make 
conscience of paying all their dues: so that, by ascertaining how much is lost by fraud and 
falsehood in the census declarations — the calculation may easily be made — it would be seen 
that the ground of complaint in one department of revenue is compensated by the advantage 
which others derive. 


96 



Chapter XLIII. 


Chapter XLIII. 

I will confess, however, without hesitation, that there are some who in a sense may 
complain of Christians that they are a sterile race: as, for instance, pimps, and panders, and 
bath-suppliers; assassins, and poisoners, and sorcerers; soothsayers, too, diviners, and astro- 
logers. But it is a noble fruit of Christians, that they have no fruits for such as these. And 
yet, whatever loss your interests suffer from the religion we profess, the protection you have 
from us makes amply up for it. What value do you set on persons, I do not here urge who 
deliver you from demons, I do not urge who for your sakes present prayers before the throne 
of the true God, for perhaps you have no belief in that — but from whom you can have 
nothing to fear? 


97 



Chapter XLIV. 


Chapter XLIV. 

Yes, and no one considers what the loss is to the common weal, — a loss as great as it is 
real, no one estimates the injury entailed upon the state, when, men of virtue as we are, we 
are put to death in such numbers; when so many of the truly good suffer the last penalty. 
And here we call your own acts to witness, you who are daily presiding at the trials of pris- 
oners, and passing sentence upon crimes. Well, in your long lists of those accused of many 
and various atrocities, has any assassin, any cutpurse, any man guilty of sacrilege, or seduc- 
tion, or stealing bathers’ clothes, his name entered as being a Christian too? Or when 
Christians are brought before you on the mere ground of their name, is there ever found 
among them an ill-doer of the sort? It is always with your folk the prison is steaming, the 
mines are sighing, the wild beasts are fed: it is from you the exhibitors of gladiatorial shows 
always get their herds of criminals to feed up for the occasion. You find no Christian there, 
except simply as being such; or if one is there as something else, a Christian he is no longer . 142 


142 [An appeal so defiant that its very boldness confirms this tribute to the character of our Christian fathers, 

P- 42.] 


98 



Chapter XLV. 


Chapter XLV. 

We, then, alone are without crime. Is there ought wonderful in that, if it be a very neces- 
sity with us? For a necessity indeed it is. Taught of God himself what goodness is, we have 
both a perfect knowledge of it as revealed to us by a perfect Master; and faithfully we do His 
will, as enjoined on us by a Judge we dare not despise. But your ideas of virtue you have got 
from mere human opinion; on human authority, too, its obligation rests: hence your system 
of practical morality is deficient, both in the fulness and authority requisite to produce a 
life of real virtue. Man’s wisdom to point out what is good, is no greater than his authority 
to exact the keeping of it; the one is as easily deceived as the other is despised. And so, which 
is the ampler rule, to say, “Thou shalt not kill,” or to teach, “Be not even angry?” Which is 
more perfect, to forbid adultery, or to restrain from even a single lustful look? Which indic- 
ates the higher intelligence, interdicting evil-doing, or evil-speaking? Which is more thor- 
ough, not allowing an injury, or not even suffering an injury done to you to be repaid? 
Though withal you know that these very laws also of yours, which seem to lead to virtue, 
have been borrowed from the law of God as the ancient model. Of the age of Moses we 
have already spoken. But what is the real authority of human laws, when it is in man’s power 
both to evade them, by generally managing to hide himself out of sight in his crimes, and 
to despise them sometimes, if inclination or necessity leads him to offend? Think of these 
things, too, in the light of the brevity of any punishment you can inflict — never to last longer 
than till death. On this ground Epicurus makes light of all suffering and pain, maintaining 
that if it is small, it is contemptible; and if it is great, it is not long- continued. No doubt 
about it, we, who receive our awards under the judgment of an all-seeing God, and who 
look forward to eternal punishment from Him for sin, — we alone make real effort to attain 
a blameless life, under the influence of our ampler knowledge, the impossibility of conceal- 
ment, and the greatness of the threatened torment, not merely long-enduring but everlasting, 
fearing Him, whom he too should fear who the fearing judges, — even God, I mean, and not 
the proconsul. 


99 



Chapter XLVI. 


Chapter XLVI. 

We have sufficiently met, as I think, the accusation of the various crimes on the ground 
of which these fierce demands are made for Christian blood. We have made a full exhibition 
of our case; and we have shown you how we are able to prove that our statement is correct, 
from the trustworthiness, I mean, and antiquity of our sacred writings, and from the confes- 
sion likewise of the powers of spiritual wickedness themselves. Who will venture to undertake 
our refutation; not with skill of words, but, as we have managed our demonstration, on the 
basis of reality? But while the truth we hold is made clear to all, unbelief meanwhile, at the 
very time it is convinced of the worth of Christianity, which has now become well known 
for its benefits as well as from the intercourse of life, takes up the notion that it is not really 
a thing divine, but rather a kind of philosophy. These are the very things, it says, the 
philosophers counsel and profess — innocence, justice, patience, sobriety, chastity. Why, 
then, are we not permitted an equal liberty and impunity for our doctrines as they have, 
with whom, in respect of what we teach, we are compared? or why are not they, as so like 
us, not pressed to the same offices, for declining which our lives are imperilled? For who 
compels a philosopher to sacrifice or take an oath, or put out useless lamps at midday? Nay, 
they openly overthrow your gods, and in their writings they attack your superstitions; and 
you applaud them for it. Many of them even, with your countenance, bark out against your 
rulers, and are rewarded with statues and salaries, instead of being given to the wild beasts. 
And very right it should be so. For they are called philosophers, not Christians. This name 
of philosopher has no power to put demons to the rout. Why are they not able to do that 
too? since philosophers count demons inferior to gods. Socrates used to say, “If the demon 
grant permission.” Yet he, too, though in denying the existence of your divinities he had a 
glimpse of the truth, at his dying ordered a cock to be sacrificed to /Esculapius, I believe in 
honour of his father , 143 for Apollo pronounced Socrates the wisest of men. Thoughtless 
Apollo! testifying to the wisdom of the man who denied the existence of his race. In propor- 
tion to the enmity the truth awakens, you give offence by faithfully standing by it; but the 
man who corrupts and makes a mere pretence of it precisely on this ground gains favour 
with its persecutors. The truth which philosophers, these mockers and corrupters of it, with 
hostile ends merely affect to hold, and in doing so deprave, caring for nought but glory, 
Christians both intensely and intimately long for and maintain in its integrity, as those who 
have a real concern about their salvation. So that we are like each other neither in our 
knowledge nor our ways, as you imagine. For what certain information did Thales, the first 
of natural philosophers, give in reply to the inquiry of Croesus regarding Deity, the delay 
for further thought so often proving in vain? There is not a Christian workman but finds 


143 [Tertullian’s exposition of this enigmatical fact (see the Phcedo) is better than divers other ingenious 
theories.] 


100 



Chapter XLVI. 


out God, and manifests Him, and hence assigns to Him all those attributes which go to 
constitute a divine being, though Plato affirms that it is far from easy to discover the Maker 
of the universe; and when He is found, it is difficult to make Him known to all. But if we 
challenge you to comparison in the virtue of chastity, I turn to a part of the sentence passed 
by the Athenians against Socrates, who was pronounced a corrupter of youth. The Christian 
confines himself to the female sex. I have read also how the harlot Phryne kindled in Diogenes 
the fires of lust, and how a certain Speusippus, of Plato’s school, perished in the adulterous 
act. The Christian husband has nothing to do with any but his own wife. Democritus, in 
putting out his eyes, because he could not look on women without lusting after them, and 
was pained if his passion was not satisfied, owns plainly, by the punishment he inflicts, his 
incontinence. But a Christian with grace-healed eyes is sightless in this matter; he is mentally 
blind against the assaults of passion. If I maintain our superior modesty of behaviour, there 
at once occurs to me Diogenes with filth-covered feet trampling on the proud couches of 
Plato, under the influence of another pride: the Christian does not even play the proud man 
to the pauper. If sobriety of spirit be the virtue in debate, why, there are Pythagoras at 
Thurii, and Zeno at Priene, ambitious of the supreme power: the Christian does not aspire 
to the aedileship. If equanimity be the contention, you have Lycurgus choosing death by 
self- starvation, because the Lacons had made some emendation of his laws: the Christian, 
even when he is condemned, gives thanks . 144 If the comparison be made in regard to 
trustworthiness, Anaxagoras denied the deposit of his enemies: the Christian is noted for 
his fidelity even among those who are not of his religion. If the matter of sincerity is to be 
brought to trial, Aristotle basely thrust his friend Hermias from his place: the Christian 
does no harm even to his foe. With equal baseness does Aristotle play the sycophant to Al- 
exander, instead of exercising to keep him in the right way, and Plato allows himself to be 
bought by Dionysius for his belly’s sake. Aristippus in the purple, with all his great show of 
gravity, gives way to extravagance; and Hippias is put to death laying plots against the state: 
no Christian ever attempted such a thing in behalf of his brethren, even when persecution 
was scattering them abroad with every atrocity. But it will be said that some of us, too, depart 
from the rules of our discipline. In that case, however, we count them no longer Christians; 
but the philosophers who do such things retain still the name and the honour of wisdom. 
So, then, where is there any likeness between the Christian and the philosopher? between 
the disciple of Greece and of heaven? between the man whose object is fame, and whose 
object is life? between the talker and the doer? between the man who builds up and the man 
who pulls down? between the friend and the foe of error? between one who corrupts the 
truth, and one who restores and teaches it? between its chief and its custodier? 


144 [John xxi. 19. A pious habit which long survived among Christians, when learning that death was at hand: 
as in Shakespeare’s Henry IV., “Laud be to God, ev’n there my life must end.” See 1 Thess. v. 18.] 


101 


Chapter XLVII. 


Chapter XLVII. 

Unless I am utterly mistaken, there is nothing so old as the truth; and the already proved 
antiquity of the divine writings is so far of use to me, that it leads men more easily to take 
it in that they are the treasure-source whence all later wisdom has been taken. And were it 
not necessary to keep my work to a moderate size, I might launch forth also into the proof 
of this. What poet or sophist has not drunk at the fountain of the prophets? Thence, accord- 
ingly, the philosophers watered their arid minds, so that it is the things they have from us 
which bring us into comparison with them. For this reason, I imagine, philosophy was 
banished by certain states — I mean by the Thebans, by the Spartans also, and the Argives — its 
disciples sought to imitate our doctrines; and ambitious, as I have said, of glory and eloquence 
alone, if they fell upon anything in the collection of sacred Scriptures which displeased them, 
in their own peculiar style of research, they perverted it to serve their purpose: for they had 
no adequate faith in their divinity to keep them from changing them, nor had they any 
sufficient understanding of them, either, as being still at the time under veil — even obscure 
to the Jews themselves, whose peculiar possession they seemed to be. For so, too, if the truth 
was distinguished by its simplicity, the more on that account the fastidiousness of man, too 
proud to believe, set to altering it; so that even what they found certain they made uncertain 
by their admixtures. Finding a simple revelation of God, they proceeded to dispute about 
Him, not as He had revealed to them, but turned aside to debate about His properties, His 
nature, His abode. Some assert Him to be incorporeal; others maintain He has a body, — the 
Platonists teaching the one doctrine, and the Stoics the other. Some think that He is com- 
posed of atoms, others of numbers: such are the different views of Epicurus and Pythagoras. 
One thinks He is made of fire; so it appeared to Heraclitus. The Platonists, again, hold that 
He administers the affairs of the world; the Epicureans, on the contrary, that He is idle and 
inactive, and, so to speak, a nobody in human things. Then the Stoics represent Him as 
placed outside the world, and whirling round this huge mass from without like a potter; 
while the Platonists place Him within the world, as a pilot is in the ship he steers. So, in like 
manner, they differ in their views about the world itself, whether it is created or uncreated, 
whether it is destined to pass away or to remain for ever. So again it is debated concerning 
the nature of the soul, which some contend is divine and eternal, while others hold that it 
is dissoluble. According to each one’s fancy, He has introduced either something new, or 
refashioned the old. Nor need we wonder if the speculations of philosophers have perverted 
the older Scriptures. Some of their brood, with their opinions, have even adulterated our 
new-given Christian revelation, and corrupted it into a system of philosophic doctrines, 
and from the one path have struck off many and inexplicable by-roads . 145 And I have alluded 
to this, lest any one becoming acquainted with the variety of parties among us, this might 


145 [See Irenseus, vol. i. p. 377 this Series.] 


102 



Chapter XLVII. 


seem to him to put us on a level with the philosophers, and he might condemn the truth 
from the different ways in which it is defended. But we at once put in a plea in bar against 
these tainters of our purity, asserting that this is the rule of truth which comes down from 
Christ by transmission through His companions, to whom we shall prove that those devisers 
of different doctrines are all posterior. Everything opposed to the truth has been got up from 
the truth itself, the spirits of error carrying on this system of opposition. By them all corrup- 
tions of wholesome discipline have been secretly instigated; by them, too, certain fables have 
been introduced, that, by their resemblance to the truth, they might impair its credibility, 
or vindicate their own higher claims to faith; so that people might think Christians unworthy 
of credit because the poets or philosophers are so, or might regard the poets and philosophers 
as worthier of confidence from their not being followers of Christ. Accordingly, we get 
ourselves laughed at for proclaiming that God will one day judge the world. For, like us, the 
poets and philosophers set up a judgment-seat in the realms below. And if we threaten 
Gehenna, which is a reservoir of secret fire under the earth for purposes of punishment, we 
have in the same way derision heaped on us. For so, too, they have their Pyriphlegethon, a 
river of flame in the regions of the dead. And if we speak of Paradise , 146 the place of heavenly 
bliss appointed to receive the spirits of the saints, severed from the knowledge of this world 
by that fiery zone as by a sort of enclosure, the Elysian plains have taken possession of their 
faith. Whence is it, I pray you have all this, so like us, in the poets and philosophers? The 
reason simply is, that they have been taken from our religion. But if they are taken from our 
sacred things, as being of earlier date, then ours are the truer, and have higher claims upon 
belief, since even their imitations find faith among you. If they maintain their sacred mys- 
teries to have sprung from their own minds, in that case ours will be reflections of what are 
later than themselves, which by the nature of things is impossible, for never does the shadow 
precede the body which casts it, or the image the reality . 147 


146 [Elucidation X.] 

147 True, in the sense that a shadow cannot be projected by a body not yet existent. 


103 



Chapter XLVIII. 


Chapter XLVIII. 

Come now, if some philosopher affirms, as Laberius holds, following an opinion of 
Pythagoras, that a man may have his origin from a mule, a serpent from a woman, and with 
skill of speech twists every argument to prove his view, will he not gain acceptance for and 
work in some the conviction that, on account of this, they should even abstain from eating 
animal food? May any one have the persuasion that he should so abstain, lest by chance in 
his beef he eats of some ancestor of his? But if a Christian promises the return of a man 
from a man, and the very actual Gaius from Gaius, the cry of the people will be to have 

him stoned; they will not even so much as grant him a hearing. If there is any ground for 
the moving to and fro of human souls into different bodies, why may they not return into 
the very substance they have left, seeing this is to be restored, to be that which had been? 
They are no longer the very things they had been; for they could not be what they were not, 
without first ceasing to be what they had been. If we were inclined to give all rein upon this 
point, discussing into what various beasts one and another might probably be changed, we 
would need at our leisure to take up many points. But this we would do chiefly in our own 
defence, as setting forth what is greatly worthier of belief, that a man will come back from 
a man — any given person from any given person, still retaining his humanity; so that the 
soul, with its qualities unchanged, may be restored to the same condition, thought not to 
the same outward framework. Assuredly, as the reason why restoration takes place at all is 
the appointed judgment, every man must needs come forth the very same who had once 
existed, that he may receive at God’s hands a judgment, whether of good desert or the op- 
posite. And therefore the body too will appear; for the soul is not capable of suffering without 
the solid substance (that is, the flesh; and for this reason, also) that it is not right that souls 
should have all the wrath of God to bear: they did not sin without the body, within which 
all was done by them. But how, you say, can a substance which has been dissolved be made 
to reappear again? Consider thyself, O man, and thou wilt believe in it! Reflect on what you 
were before you came into existence. Nothing. For if you had been anything, you would 
have remembered it. You, then, who were nothing before you existed, reduced to nothing 
also when you cease to be, why may you not come into being again out of nothing, at the 
will of the same Creator whose will created you out of nothing at the first? Will it be anything 
new in your case? You who were not, were made; when you cease to be again, you shall be 
made. Explain, if you can, your original creation, and then demand to know how you shall 
be re-created. Indeed, it will be still easier surely to make you what you were once, when 
the very same creative power made you without difficulty what you never were before. There 
will be doubts, perhaps, as to the power of God, of Him who hung in its place this huge 
body of our world, made out of what had never existed, as from a death of emptiness and 


148 [i.e., Caius, used (like John Doe with us) in Roman Law.] 


104 



Chapter XLVIII. 


inanity, animated by the Spirit who quickens all living things, its very self the unmistakable 
type of the resurrection, that it might be to you a witness — nay, the exact image of the resur- 
rection. Light, every day extinguished, shines out again; and, with like alternation, darkness 
succeeds light’s outgoing. The defunct stars re-live; the seasons, as soon as they are finished, 
renew their course; the fruits are brought to maturity, and then are reproduced. The seeds 
do not spring up with abundant produce, save as they rot and dissolve away; — all things are 
preserved by perishing, all things are refashioned out of death. Thou, man of nature so ex- 
alted, if thou understandest thyself, taught even by the Pythian 149 words, lord of all these 
things that die and rise, — shalt thou die to perish evermore? Wherever your dissolution 
shall have taken place, whatever material agent has destroyed you, or swallowed you up, or 
swept you away, or reduced you to nothingness, it shall again restore you. Even nothingness 
is His who is Lord of all. You ask, Shall we then be always dying, and rising up from death? 
If so the Lord of all things had appointed, you would have to submit, though unwillingly, 
to the law of your creation. But, in fact, He has no other purpose than that of which He has 
informed us. The Reason which made the universe out of diverse elements, so that all things 
might be composed of opposite substances in unity — of void and solid, of animate and in- 
animate, of comprehensible and incomprehensible, of light and darkness, of life itself and 
death — has also disposed time into order, by fixing and distinguishing its mode, according 
to which this first portion of it, which we inhabit from the beginning of the world, flows 
down by a temporal course to a close; but the portion which succeeds, and to which we look 
forward continues forever. When, therefore, the boundary and limit, that millennial inter- 
space, has been passed, when even the outward fashion of the world itself— which has been 
spread like a veil over the eternal economy, equally a thing of time — passes away, then the 
whole human race shall be raised again, to have its dues meted out according as it has merited 
in the period of good or evil, and thereafter to have these paid out through the immeasurable 
ages of eternity. Therefore after this there is neither death nor repeated resurrections, but 
we shall be the same that we are now, and still unchanged — the servants of God, ever with 
God, clothed upon with the proper substance of eternity; but the profane, and all who are 
not true worshippers of God, in like manner shall be consigned to the punishment of ever- 
lasting fire — that fire which, from its very nature indeed, directly ministers to their incor- 
ruptibility. The philosophers are familiar as well as we with the distinction between a common 
and a secret fire. Thus that which is in common use is far different from that which we see 
in divine judgments, whether striking as thunderbolts from heaven, or bursting up out of 
the earth through mountain-tops; for it does not consume what it scorches, but while it 
burns it repairs. So the mountains continue ever burning; and a person struck by lighting 


149 Know thyself. [Juvenal, xi. 27, on which see great wealth of reference in J.E.B. Mayor’s Juvenal (xiii. 
Satires), and note especially, Bernard, Serm. De Divers xl. 3. In Cant. Cantic. xxxvi. 5-7.] 


105 



Chapter XLVIII. 


is even now kept safe from any destroying flame. A notable proof this of the fire eternal! a 
notable example of the endless judgment which still supplies punishment with fuel! The 
mountains burn, and last. How will it be with the wicked and the enemies of God ? 150 


150 [Our author’s philosophy may be at fault, but his testimony is not to be mistaken.] 


106 



Chapter XLIX. 


Chapter XLIX. 

These are what are called presumptuous speculations in our case alone; in the philosoph- 
ers and poets they are regarded as sublime speculations and illustrious discoveries. They 
are men of wisdom, we are fools. They are worthy of all honour, we are folk to have the 
finger pointed at; nay, besides that, we are even to have punishments inflicted on us. But let 
things which are the defence of virtue, if you will, have no foundation, and give them duly 
the name of fancies, yet still they are necessary; let them be absurd if you will, yet they are 
of use: they make all who believe them better men and women, under the fear of never- 
ending punishment and the hope of never-ending bliss. It is not, then, wise to brand as 
false, nor to regard as absurd, things the truth of which it is expedient to presume. On no 
ground is it right positively to condemn as bad what beyond all doubt is profitable. Thus, 
in fact, you are guilty of the very presumption of which you accuse us, in condemning what 
is useful. It is equally out of the question to regard them as nonsensical; at any rate, if they 
are false and foolish, they hurt nobody. For they are just (in that case) like many other things 
on which you inflict no penalties — foolish and fabulous things, I mean, which, as quite in- 
nocuous, are never charged as crimes or punished. But in a thing of the kind, if this be so 
indeed, we should be adjudged to ridicule, not to swords, and flames, and crosses, and wild 
beasts, in which iniquitous cruelty not only the blinded populace exults and insults over us, 
but in which some of you too glory, not scrupling to gain the popular favour by your injustice. 
As though all you can do to us did not depend upon our pleasure. It is assuredly a matter 
of my own inclination, being a Christian. Your condemnation, then, will only reach me in 
that case, if I wish to be condemned; but when all you can do to me, you can do only at my 
will, all you can do is dependent on my will, and is not in your power. The joy of the people 
in our trouble is therefore utterly reasonless. For it is our joy they appropriate to themselves, 
since we would far rather be condemned than apostatize from God; on the contrary, our 
haters should be sorry rather than rejoice, as we have obtained the very thing of our own 
choice. 


107 



Chapter L. 


Chapter L. 

In that case, you say, why do you complain of our persecutions? You ought rather to 
be grateful to us for giving you the sufferings you want. Well, it is quite true that it is our 
desire to suffer, but it is in the way that the soldier longs for war. No one indeed suffers 
willingly, since suffering necessarily implies fear and danger. Yet the man who objected to 
the conflict, both fights with all his strength, and when victorious, he rejoices in the battle, 
because he reaps from it glory and spoil. It is our battle to be summoned to your tribunals 
that there, under fear of execution, we may battle for the truth. But the day is won when the 
object of the struggle is gained. This victory of ours gives us the glory of pleasing God, and 
the spoil of life eternal. But we are overcome. Yes, when we have obtained our wishes. 
Therefore we conquer in dying ; 151 we go forth victorious at the very time we are subdued. 
Call us, if you like, Sarmenticii and Semaxii, because, bound to a half-axle stake, we are 
burned in a circle-heap of fagots. This is the attitude in which we conquer, it is our victory- 
robe, it is for us a sort of triumphal car. Naturally enough, therefore, we do not please the 
vanquished; on account of this, indeed, we are counted a desperate, reckless race. But the 
very desperation and recklessness you object to in us, among yourselves lift high the standard 
of virtue in the cause of glory and of fame. Mucius of his own will left his right hand on the 
altar: what sublimity of mind! Empedocles gave his whole body at Catana to the fires of 
iEtna: what mental resolution! A certain foundress of Carthage gave herself away in second 
marriage to the funeral pile: what a noble witness of her chastity! Regulus, not wishing that 
his one life should count for the lives of many enemies, endured these crosses over all his 
frame: how brave a man — even in captivity a conqueror! Anaxarchus, when he was being 
beaten to death by a barley-pounder, cried out, “Beat on, beat on at the case of Anaxarchus; 
no stroke falls on Anaxarchus himself.” O magnanimity of the philosopher, who even in 
such an end had jokes upon his lips! I omit all reference to those who with their own sword, 
or with any other milder form of death, have bargained for glory. Nay, see how even torture 
contests are crowned by you. The Athenian courtezan, having wearied out the executioner, 
at last bit off her tongue and spat it in the face of the raging tyrant, that she might at the 
same time spit away her power of speech, nor be longer able to confess her fellow-conspir- 
ators, if even overcome, that might be her inclination. Zeno the Eleatic, when he was asked 
by Dionysius what good philosophy did, on answering that it gave contempt of death, was 
all unquailing, given over to the tyrant’s scourge, and sealed his opinion even to the death. 
We all know how the Spartan lash, applied with the utmost cruelty under the very eyes of 
friends encouraging, confers on those who bear it honor proportionate to the blood which 
the young men shed. O glory legitimate, because it is human, for whose sake it is counted 
neither reckless foolhardiness, nor desperate obstinacy, to despise death itself and all sorts 


151 [Vicimus cum occidimur.} 


108 



Chapter L. 


of savage treatment; for whose sake you may for your native place, for the empire, for 
friendship, endure all you are forbidden to do for God! And you cast statues in honour of 
persons such as these, and you put inscriptions upon images, and cut out epitaphs on tombs, 
that their names may never perish. In so far you can by your monuments, you yourselves 
afford a sort of resurrection to the dead. Yet he who expects the true resurrection from God, 
is insane, if for God he suffers! But go zealously on, good presidents, you will stand higher 
with the people if you sacrifice the Christians at their wish, kill us, torture us, condemn us, 
grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. Therefore God suffers that 
we thus suffer; for but very lately, in condemning a Christian woman to the leno rather than 
to the leo you made confession that a taint on our purity is considered among us something 
more terrible than any punishment and any death. Nor does your cruelty, however ex- 
quisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, 

i ro 

the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed. Many of your writers exhort 

to the courageous bearing of pain and death, as Cicero in the Tusculans, as Seneca in his 
Chances, as Diogenes, Pyrrhus, Callinicus; and yet their words do not find so many disciples 
as Christians do, teachers not by words, but by their deeds. That very obstinacy you rail 
against is the preceptress. For who that contemplates it, is not excited to inquire what is at 
the bottom of it? who, after inquiry, does not embrace our doctrines? and when he has em- 
braced them, desires not to suffer that he may become partaker of the fulness of God’s grace, 
that he may obtain from God complete forgiveness, by giving in exchange his blood? For 
that secures the remission of all offences. On this account it is that we return thanks on the 
very spot for your sentences. As the divine and human are ever opposed to each other, when 
we are condemned by you, we are acquitted by the Highest. 


152 [Elucidation XI.] 

153 [Elucidation XII.] 


109 



Elucidations. 


Elucidations. 



I. 

(Arrangement, p. 4, supra.) 

The arrangement I have adopted in editing these Edinburgh Translations of Tertullian 
is a practical one. It will be found logical and helpful to the student, who is referred to the 
Prefatory pages of this volume for an Elucidation of the difficulties, with which any arrange- 
ment of these treatises is encumbered. For , first, an attempt to place them in chronological 
order is out of the question; 154 and, second, all efforts to separate precisely the Orthodox 
from the Montanistic or Montanist works of our author have hitherto defied the acumen 
of critics. It would be mere empiricism for me to attempt an original classification in the 
face of questions which even experts have been unable to determine. 

If we bear in mind, however, a few guiding facts, we shall see that difficulties are less 
than might appear, assuming our object to be a practical one. (1.) Only four of these essays 
were written against Orthodoxy; (2.) five more are reckoned as wholly uncertain, which 
amounts to saying that they are not positively heretical. (3.) Again, five are colourless, as to 
Montanism, and hence should be reputed Orthodox. (4.) Of others, written after the influ- 
ences of Montanism had, more or less, tainted his doctrine, the whole are yet valuable and 
some are noble defences of the Catholic Faith. (5.) Finally eight or ten of his treatises were 
written while he was a Catholic, and are precious contributions to the testimony of the 
Primitive Church. 

From these facts, we may readily conclude that the mass of Tertullian’s writings is Or- 
thodox. Some of them are to be read with caution; others, again, must be rejected for their 
heresy; but yet all are most instructive historically, and as defining even by errors “the faith 
once delivered to the Saints.” I propose to note those which require caution as we pass them 
in review. Those written against the Church are classed by themselves, at the end of the list, 
and all the rest may be read with confidence. A most interesting inquiry arises in connection 
with the quotations from Scripture to be found in our author. Did a Fatin version exist in 
his day, or does he translate from the Greek of the New T estament and the FXX? A paradox- 
ical writer (Semler) contends that Tertullian “never used a Greek ms.” (see Kaye, p. 106.) 
But Tertullian’s rugged Fatin betrays everywhere his familiarity with Greek idioms and 
forms of thought. He wrote, also, in Greek, and there is no reason to doubt that he knew 
the Greek Scriptures primarily, if he knew any Greek whatever. Possibly we owe to Tertullian 


154 Kaye, p. 36. Also, p. 8, supra. 


110 



Elucidations. 


the primordia of the Old African Latin Versions, some of which seem to have contained the 
disputed text 1 John v. 7; of which more when we come to the Praxeas. For the present in 
the absence of definite evidence we must infer that Tertullian usually translated from the 
LXX, and from the originals of the New Testament. But Mosheim thinks the progress of 
the Gospel in the West was now facilitated by the existence of Latin Versions. Observe, 
also, Kaye’s important note, p. 293, and his reference to Lardner, Cred. xxvii. 19. 

II. 

(Address to Magistrates, cap. i„ p. 17.) 

The Apology comes first in order, on logical grounds. It is classed with our author’s 
orthodox works by Neander, and pronounced colourless by Kaye. It is the noblest of his 
productions in its purpose and spirit, and it falls in with the Primitive System of Apologetics. 
I have placed next in order to it several treatises, mostly unblemished, which are of the same 
character; which defend the cause of Christians against Paganism, against Gentile Philosophy, 
and against Judaism; closing this portion by the two books Ad Nationes, which may be re- 
garded as a recapitulation of the author’s arguments, especially those to be found in the 
Apology. In these successive works, as compared with those of Justin Martyr, we obtain a 
fair view of the progressive relations of the Church with the Roman Empire and with divers 
antagonistic systems in the East and West. 


III. 

(History of Christians, cap. ii„ p. 18.) 

The following Chronological outline borrowed from the Benedictines and from Bishop 
Kaye, will prove serviceable here. 155 

Tertullian born (circa) a.d. 150. 

Tertullian converted ( surmise ) 185. 

Tertullian married (say) 186. 

Tertullian ordained presbyter (circa) 192. 

Tertullian lapsed (circa) 200. 

Tertullian deceased (extreme surmise) 240. 

The Imperial history of his period may be thus arranged: 

Birth of Caracalla a.d. 188. 

Birth of Geta 189. 


155 Kaye (following L’Art de verifier les Dates ) pp. 1 1 and 456. 


Ill 


Elucidations. 


Reign of Severus 193. 

Defeat of Niger 195. 

Caracalla made a Ccesar 196. 

Capture of Byzantium 196. 

Defeat of Albinus 197. 

Geta made a Ccesar 198. 

Caracalla called Augustus 198. 
Caracalla associated in the Empire 198. 
War against the Parthians 198. 

Severus returns from the war 203. 
Celebration of the Secular Games 204. 
Plautianus put to death (circa) 205. 
Geta called Augustus 208. 

War in Britain 208. 

Wall of Severus 210. 

Death of Severus 211. 


IV. 

(Tiberius, capp. v. and xxiv., pp. 22 and 35.) 

A fair examination of what has been said on this subject, pro and con, may be found in 
Kaye’s Tertullian , 156 pp. 102-105. In his abundant candour this author leans to the doubters, 
but in stating the case he seems to me to fortify the position of Lardner and Mosheim. What 
the brutal Tiberius may have thought or done with respect to Pilate’s report concerning the 
holy victim of his judicial injustice is of little importance to the believer. Nevertheless, as 
matter of history it deserves attention. Great stress is to be placed on the fact that Tertullian 
was probably a jurisconsult, familiar with the Roman archives, and influenced by them in 
his own acceptance of Divine Truth. It is not supposable that such a man would have haz- 
arded his bold appeal to the records, in remonstrating with the Senate and in the very faces 
of the Emperor and his colleagues, had he not known that the evidence was irrefragable. 

V. 

(The darkness at the Crucifixion, cap. xxi., p. 35.) 

Kaye disappoints us (p. 150) in his slight notice of this most interesting subject. Without 
attempting to discuss the story of Phlegon and other points which afford Gibbon an oppor- 


156 My references are to the Third Edition, London, Rivingtons, 1845. 


112 



Elucidations. 


tunity for misplaced sneering, such as even a Pilate would have rebuked, while it may be 
well to recall the exposition of Milman, at the close of Gibbon’s fifteenth chapter, I must 

express my own preference for another view. This will be found candidly summed up and 
stated, in the Speaker’s Commentary, in the concise note on St. Matt, xxvii. 45. 

VI. 

(Numbers of the Faithful, cap. xxxvii., p. 45.) 

1 CO 

Kaye, as usual, gives this vexed question a candid survey. Making all allowances, 
however, I accept the conjecture of some reputable authorities, that there were 2,000,000 of 
Christians, in the bounds of the Roman Empire at the close of the Second Century. So 
mightily grew the testimony of Jesus and prevailed. When we reflect that only a century 
intervened between the times of Tertullian and the conversion of the Roman Emperor, it is 
not easy to regard our author’s language as merely that of fervid genius and of rhetorical 
hyperbole. He could not have ventured upon exaggeration without courting scorn as well 
as defeat. What he affirms is probable in the nature of the case. Were it otherwise, then the 
conditions, which, in a single century rendered it possible for Constantine to effect the 
greatest revolution in mind and manners that has ever been known among men, would be 
a miracle compared with which that of his alleged Vision of the Cross sinks into insignific- 
ance. To this subject it will be necessary to recur hereafter. 

VII. 

(Christian usages, cap. xxxix., p. 46.) 

A candid review of the matters discussed in this chapter will be found in Kaye (pp. 146, 
209.) The important fact is there clearly stated that “the primitive Christians scrupulously 
complied with the decree pronounced by the Apostles at Jerusalem in abstaining from things 
strangled and from blood” (Acts xv. 20). On this subject consult the references given in the 
Speaker’s Commentary, ad locum. The Greeks, to their honour, still maintain this prohibition, 
but St. Augustine’s great authority relaxed the Western scruples on this matter, for he re- 
garded it as a decree of temporary obligation, while the Hebrew and Gentile Christians were 
in peril of misunderstanding and estrangement. 159 

On the important question as to the cessation of miracles Kaye takes a somewhat original 
position. But see his interesting discussion and that of the late Professor Hey, in Kaye’s 


157 In his edition of The Decline and Fall, Vol. I., p. 589, American reprint. 

158 pp. 85-88. 

159 Ep. ad Faust, xxxii. 13. and see Conybeare and Howson. 

113 


Elucidations. 


Tertullian, pp. 80-102, 151-161. I do not think writers on these subjects have sufficiently 
distinguished between miracles properly so called, and providences vouchsafed in answer 
to prayer. There was no miracle in the case of the Thundering Legion, assuming the story 
to be true; and I dare to affirm that marked answers to prayer, by providential interpositions, 
but wholly distinct from miraculous agencies, have never ceased among those who “ask in 
the Son’s Name.” Such interpositions are often preternatural only; that is, they economize 
certain powers which, though natural in themselves, he outside of the System of Nature 
with which we happen to be familiar. This distinction has been overlooked. 

VIII. 

(Multitudes, cap. xl„ p. 47.) 

Note the words — “multitudes to a single beast.” Can it be possible that Tertullian would 
use such language to the magistrates, if he knew that such sentences were of rare occurrence? 
The disposition of our times to minimize the persecutions of our Christian forefathers calls 
upon us to note such references, all the more important because occurring obiter and 
mentioned as notorious. Note also, the closing chapter of this Apology, and reference to the 
outcries of the populace, in Cap. xxxv. 160 See admirable remarks on the benefits derived by 
the Church from the sufferings of Christian martyrs, with direct reference to Tertullian, 
Wordsworth, Church Hist, to Council ofNiccea, cap. xxiv., p. 374. 

IX. 

(Christian manners, cap. xlii., p. 49.) 

A study of the manners of Christians, in the Ante-Nicene Age, as sketched by the un- 
sparing hand of Tertullian, will convince any unprejudiced mind of the mighty power of 
the Holy Ghost, in framing such characters out of heathen originals. When, under 
Montanistic influences our severely ascetic author complains of the Church’s corruptions, 
and turns inside-out the whole estate of the faithful, we see all that can be pressed on the 
other side; but, this very important chapter must be borne in mind, together with the closing 
sentence of chap, xliv., as evidence that whatever might be said by a rigid disciplinarian, the 
Church, as compared with our day, was still a living embodiment of Philippians iv. 8. 

X. 

(Paradise, cap. xlvii., p. 52.) 


160 Compare Kaye on Mosheim, p. 107. 


114 


Elucidations. 


See Kaye, p. 248. Our author seems not always consistent with himself in his references 
to the Places of departed spirits. Kaye thinks he identifies Paradise with the Heaven of the 
Most High, in one place (the De Exhort. Cast.,x iii.) where he probably confuses the Apostle’s 
ideas, in Galatians v. 12, and Ephesians v. 5. Commonly, however, though he is not consistent 
with himself, this would be his scheme: — 

1 . The Inferi, or Hades, where the soul of Dives was in one continent and that of Lazarus 

in another, with a gulf between. Our author places “Abraham’s bosom” in Hades. 

2. Paradise. In Hades, but in a superior and more glorious region. This more blessed 

abode was opened to the souls of the martyrs and other greater saints, at our Lord’s 
descent into the place of the dead. After the General Resurrection and Judgment, 
there remain: 

1. Gehenna, for the lost, prepared for the devil and his angels. 

2. The Heaven of Heavens, the eternal abode of the righteous, in the vision of the Lord 

and His Eternal Joy. 

Tertullian’s variations on this subject will force us to recur to it hereafter; but, here it 
may be noted that the confusions of Latin Christianity received their character in this par- 
ticular, from the genius of our author. Augustine caught from him a certain indecision about 
the terms and places connected with the state of the departed which has continued, to this 
day, to perplex theologians in the West. Taking advantage of such confusions, the stupendous 
Roman system of “Purgatory” was fabricated in the middle ages; but the Greeks never accep- 
ted it, and it differs fundamentally from what the earlier Latin Lathers, including T ertullian, 
have given us as speculations. 


XI. 

(The Leo and the Leno, cap. 1., p. 55.) 

Here we find the alliterative and epigrammatic genius of Tertullian anticipating a sim- 
ilar poetic charm in Augustine. The Christian maid or matron preferred the Leo to the leno-, 
to be devoured rather than to be debauched. Our author wrests a tribute to the chastity of 
Christian women from the cruelty of their judges, who recognizing this fact, were accustomed 
as a refinement of their injustice to give sentence against them, refusing the mercy of a 
horrible death, by committing them to the ravisher: “damnando Christianam ad lenonem 
potius quam ad leonem.” 


XII. 

(The Seed of the Church, cap. 1., p. 55.) 


115 


Elucidations. 


Kaye has devoted a number of his pages 161 to the elucidation of this subject, not only 
showing the constancy of the martyrs, but illustrating the fact that Christians, like St. Paul, 
were forced to “die daily,” even when they were not subjected to the fiery trial. He who 
confessed himself a Christian made himself a social outcast. All manner of outrages and 
wrongs could be committed against him with impunity. Rich men, who had joined themselves 
to Christ, were forced to accept “the spoiling of their goods.” Brothers denounced 
brothers, and husbands their wives; “a man’s foes were they of his own household.” But the 
Church triumphed through suffering, and “out of weakness was made strong.” 


161 pp. 129-140. 

162 Even under Commodus, vol. ii. p. 598, this series. 


116 



On Idolatry. 


II. 

On Idolatry. 

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.] 


Chapter I. — Wide Scope of the Word Idolatry. 

The principal crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the 
whole procuring cause of judgment, is idolatry. ' For, although each single fault retains 
its own proper feature, although it is destined to judgment under its own proper name also, 
yet it is marked off under the general account of idolatry. Set aside names, examine works, 
the idolater is likewise a murderer. Do you inquire whom he has slain? If it contributes 
ought to the aggravation of the indictment, no stranger nor personal enemy, but his own 
self. By what snares? Those of his error. By what weapon? The offence done to God. By how 
many blows? As many as are his idolatries. He who affirms that the idolater perishes not , 164 
will affirm that the idolater has not committed murder. Further, you may recognize in the 
same crime 165 adultery and fornication; for he who serves false gods is doubtless an 
adulterer 166 of truth, because all falsehood is adultery. So, too, he is sunk in fornication. 
For who that is a fellow-worker with unclean spirits, does not stalk in general pollution and 
fornication? And thus it is that the Holy Scriptures use the designation of fornication in 
their upbraiding of idolatry. The essence of fraud, I take it, is, that any should seize what is 


163 [This solemn sentence vindicates the place I have given to the De Idololatria in the order adopted for this 
volume. After this and the Apology come three treatises confirming its positions, and vindicating the principles 
of Christians in conflict with Idolatry, the great generic crime of a world lying in wickedness. These three are 
the De Spectaculis , the De Corona and the Ad Scapulam. The De Spectaculis was written after this treatise, in 
which indeed it is mentioned (Cap. xiii.), but logically it follows, illustrates and enforces it. Hence my practical 
plan: which will be concluded by a scheme (conjectural in part) of chronological order in which precision is af- 
firmed by all critics to be impossible, but, by which we may reach approximate accuracy, with great advantage. 
The De Idololatria is free from Montanism. But see Kaye, p. xvi.] 

164 Lit., “has not perished,” as if the perishing were already complete; as, of course, it is judicially as soon as 
the guilt is incurred, though not actually. 

165 i.e., in idolatry. 

166 A play on the word: we should say, “an adulterator.” 

167 Oehler refers to Ezek. xxiii.; but many other references might be given — in the Pentateuch and Psalms, 
for instance. 


117 


Wide Scope of the Word Idolatry. 


another’s, or refuse to another his due; and, of course, fraud done toward man is a name of 
greatest crime. Well, but idolatry does fraud to God, by refusing to Him, and conferring on 
others, His honours; so that to fraud it also conjoins contumely. But if fraud, just as much 
as fornication and adultery, entails death, then, in these cases, equally with the former, idol- 
atry stands unacquitted of the impeachment of murder. After such crimes, so pernicious, 
so devouring of salvation, all other crimes also, after some manner, and separately disposed 
in order, find their own essence represented in idolatry. In it also are the concupiscences of 
the world. For what solemnity of idolatry is without the circumstance of dress and ornament? 
In it are lasciviousnesses and drunkennesses; since it is, for the most part, for the sake of food, 
and stomach, and appetite, that these solemnities are frequented. In it is unrighteousness. 
For what more unrighteous than it, which knows not the Father of righteousness? In it also 
is vanity, since its whole system is vain. In it is mendacity, for its whole substance is false. 
Thus it comes to pass, that in idolatry all crimes are detected, and in all crimes idolatry. 
Even otherwise, since all faults savour of opposition to God, and there is nothing which sa- 
vours of opposition to God which is not assigned to demons and unclean spirits, whose 
property idols are; doubtless, whoever commits a fault is chargeable with idolatry, for he 
does that which pertains to the proprietors of idols. 


118 



Idolatry in Its More Limited Sense. Its Copiousness. 


Chapter II. — Idolatry in Its More Limited Sense. Its Copiousness. 

But let the universal names of crimes withdraw to the specialities of their own works; 
let idolatry remain in that which it is itself. Sufficient to itself is a name so inimical to God, 
a substance of crime so copious, which reaches forth so many branches, diffuses so many 
veins, that from this name, for the greatest part, is drawn the material of all the modes in 
which the expansiveness of idolatry has to be foreguarded against by us, since in manifold 
wise it subverts the servants of God; and this not only when unperceived, but also when 
cloaked over. Most men simply regard idolatry as to be interpreted in these senses alone, 
viz.: if one burn incense, or immolate a victim, or give a sacrificial banquet, or be bound to 
some sacred functions or priesthoods; just as if one were to regard adultery as to be accounted 
in kisses, and in embraces, and in actual fleshly contact; or murder as to be reckoned only 
in the shedding forth of blood, and in the actual taking away of life. But how far wider an 
extent the Lord assigns to those crimes we are sure: when He defines adultery to consist even 
in concupiscence, “if one shall have cast an eye lustfully on,” and stirred his soul with 
immodest commotion; when He judges murder 169 to consist even in a word of curse or of 
reproach, and in every impulse of anger, and in the neglect of charity toward a brother just 
as John teaches, that he who hates his brother is a murderer. Else, both the devil’s ingenu- 
ity in malice, and God the Lord’s in the Discipline by which He fortifies us against the devil’s 
depths, would have but limited scope, if we were judged only in such faults as even the 
heathen nations have decreed punishable. How will our “righteousness abound above that 
of the Scribes and Pharisees,” as the Lord has prescribed, unless we shall have seen through 

the abundance of that adversary quality, that is, of unrighteousness? But if the head of un- 
righteousness is idolatry, the first point is, that we be fore-fortified against the abundance 
of idolatry, while we recognise it not only in its palpable manifestations. 


168 Matt. v. 28. 

169 Matt. v. 22. 

170 1 John. iii. 15, 

171 Rev. ii. 24. 

172 Matt. v. 20. 


119 


Idolatry: Origin and Meaning of the Name. 


Chapter III. — Idolatry: Origin and Meaning of the Name. 

Idol in ancient times there was none. Before the artificers of this monstrosity had bubbled 

1 n'l 

into being, temples stood solitary and shrines empty, just as to the present day in some 
places traces of the ancient practice remain permanently. Yet idolatry used to be practised, 
not under that name, but in that function; for even at this day it can be practised outside a 
temple, and without an idol. But when the devil introduced into the world artificers of 
statues and of images, and of every kind of likenesses, that former rude business of human 
disaster attained from idols both a name and a development. Thenceforward every art which 
in anyway produces an idol instantly became a fount of idolatry. For it makes no difference 
whether a moulder cast, or a carver grave, or an embroiderer weave the idol; because neither 
is it a question of material, whether an idol be formed of gypsum, or of colors, or of stone, 
or of bronze , 174 or of silver, or of thread. For since even without an idol idolatry is committed, 
when the idol is there it makes no difference of what kind it be, of what material, or what 
shape; lest any should think that only to be held an idol which is consecrated in human 
shape. To establish this point, the interpretation of the word is requisite. Eidos, in Greek, 
signifies/orm; eidolon, derived diminutively from that, by an equivalent process in our lan- 
guage, makes formling. Every form or formling, therefore, claims to be called an idol. 
Hence idolatry is “all attendance and service about every idol.” Hence also, every artificer 
of an idol is guilty of one and the same crime, unless, the People which consecrated 
for itself the likeness of a calf, and not of a man, fell short of incurring the guilt of idolatry . 178 


173 “Boiled out,” “bubbled out.” 

174 Or, brass. 

175 i.e. , a little form. 

176 Idolatry, namely. 

177 [Capitalized to mark its emphatic sense, i.e., the People of God = the Jews.] 

178 See Ex. xxxii.; and compare 1 Cor. x. 7, where the latter part of Ex. xxxii. 6 is quoted. 


120 


Idols Not to Be Made, Much Less Worshipped. Idols and Idol-Makers in the... 


Chapter IV. — Idols Not to Be Made, Much Less Worshipped. Idols and Idol-Makers 

in the Same Category. 

God prohibits an idol as much to be made as to be worshipped. In so far as the making 
what maybe worshipped is the prior act, so far is the prohibition to make (if the worship is 
unlawful) the prior prohibition. For this cause — the eradicating, namely, of the material of 
idolatry — the divine law proclaims, Thou shalt make no idol; and by conjoining, “Nor 
a similitude of the things which are in the heaven, and which are in the earth, and which 
are in the sea,” has interdicted the servants of God from acts of that kind all the universe 
over. Enoch had preceded, predicting that “the demons, and the spirits of the angelic 
apostates, would turn into idolatry all the elements, all the garniture of the universe, all 
things contained in the heaven, in the sea, in the earth, that they might be consecrated as 
God, in opposition to God.” All things, therefore, does human error worship, except the 
Founder of all Himself. The images of those things are idols; the consecration of the images 
is idolatry. Whatever guilt idolatry incurs, must necessarily be imputed to every artificer of 
every idol. In short, the same Enoch fore-condemns in general menace both idol- worshippers 
and idol-makers together. And again: “I swear to you, sinners, that against the day of per- 
dition of blood repentance is being prepared. Ye who serve stones, and ye who make 
images of gold, and silver, and wood, and stones and clay, and serve phantoms, and demons, 
and spirits in fanes, and all errors not according to knowledge, shall find no help from 
them.” But Isaiah says, Ye are witnesses whether there is a God except Me. And they 
who mould and carve out at that time were not: all vain! who do that which liketh them, 
which shall not profit them!” And that whole ensuing discourse sets a ban as well on the 
artificers as the worshippers: the close of which is, “Learn that their heart is ashes and earth, 
and that none can free his own soul.” In which sentence David equally includes the makers 
too. “Such,” says he, “let them become who make them.” And why should I, a man of 


179 Lev. xxvi. 1; Ex. xx. 4; Deut. v. 8. It must of course be borne in mind that Tertullian has defined the 
meaning of the word idol in the former chapter, and speaks with reference to that definition. 

180 Compare de Oratione, c. 23, and de Virg. Vel. c. 7. 

181 “Sanguinis perditionis:” such is the reading of Oehler and others. If it be correct, probably the phrase 
“perdition of blood” must be taken as equivalent to “bloody perdition,” after the Hebrew fashion. Compare, for 
similar instances, 2 Sam. xvi. 7; Ps. v. 6; xxvi. 9; lv. 23; Ezek. xxii. 2, with the marginal readings. But Fr. Junius 
would read, “Of blood and of perdition” — sanguinis et perditionis. Oehler’s own interpretation of the reading 
he gives — “blood-shedding” — appears unsatisfactory. 

182 “In fanis.” This is Oehler’s reading on conjecture. Other readings are — infamis, infamibus, insanis, infernis. 

183 Isa. xliv. 8 et seqq. 

184 Ps. cxv. 8. In our version, “They that make them are like unto them.” Tertullian again agrees with the 
LXX. 


121 


Idols Not to Be Made, Much Less Worshipped. Idols and Idol-Makers in the... 


limited memory, suggest anything further? Why recall anything more from the Scriptures? 
As if either the voice of the Holy Spirit were not sufficient; or else any further deliberation 
were needful, whether the Lord cursed and condemned by priority the artificers of those 
things, of which He curses and condemns the worshippers! 


122 



Sundry Objections or Excuses Dealt with. 


Chapter V. 185 — Sundry Objections or Excuses Dealt with. 

We will certainly take more pains in answering the excuses of artificers of this kind, 
who ought never to be admitted into the house of God, if any have a knowledge of that 
Discipline. To begin with, that speech, wont to be cast in our teeth, “I have nothing else 
whereby to live,” may be more severely retorted, “You have, then, whereby to live? If by 

107 

your own laws, what have you to do with God? Then, as to the argument they have the 
hardihood to bring even from the Scriptures, “that the apostle has said, ‘As each has been 

1 OQ 

found, so let him persevere.’” We may all, therefore, persevere in sins, as the result of 
that interpretation! for there is not any one of us who has not been found as a sinner, since 
no other cause was the source of Christ’s descent than that of setting sinners free. Again, 
they say the same apostle has left a precept, according to his own example, “That each one 
work with his own hands for a living.” If this precept is maintained in respect to all hands, 

I believe even the bath-thieves 190 live by their hands, and robbers themselves gain the means 
to live by their hands; forgers, again, execute their evil handwritings, not of course with their 
feet, but hands; actors, however, achieve a livelihood not with hands alone, but with their 
entire limbs. Let the Church, therefore, stand open to all who are supported by their hands 
and by their own work; if there is no exception of arts which the Discipline of God receives 
not. But some one says, in opposition to our proposition of “similitude being interdicted,” 
“Why, then, did Moses in the desert make a likeness of a serpent out of bronze?” The figures, 
which used to be laid as a groundwork for some secret future dispensation, not with a view 
to the repeal of the law, but as a type of their own final cause, stand in a class by themselves. 
Otherwise, if we should interpret these things as the adversaries of the law do, do we, too, 
as the Marcionites do, ascribe inconsistency to the Almighty, whom they 191 in this manner 
destroy as being mutable, while in one place He forbids, in another commands? But if any 
feigns ignorance of the fact that that effigy of the serpent of bronze, after the manner of one 


185 Cf. chaps, viii. and xii. 

186 i.e., the Discipline of the house of God, the Church. Oehler reads, “ earn disciplinam,” and takes the 
meaning to be that no artificer of this class should be admitted into the Church, if he applies for admittance, 
with a knowledge of the law of God referred to in the former chapters, yet persisting in his unlawful craft. Fr. 
Junius would read, “ejus disciplinam.” 

187 i.e., If laws of your own, and not the will and law of God, are the source and means of your life, you owe 
no thanks and no obedience to God, and therefore need not seek admittance into His house (Oehler). 

188 1 Cor. vii. 20. In Eng. ver., “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” 

189 1 Thess. iv. 11; 2 Thess. iii. 6-12. 

190 i.e., thieves who frequented the public baths, which were a favorite resort at Rome. 

191 The Marcionites. 


123 


Sundry Objections or Excuses Dealt with. 


1 Q? 

uphung, denoted the shape of the Lord’s cross, which was to free us from serpents — that 

is, from the devil’s angels — while, through itself, it hanged up the devil slain; or whatever 
other exposition of that figure has been revealed to worthier men no matter, provided 
we remember the apostle affirms that all things happened at that time to the People 194 fig- 
uratively} 9 ^ It is enough that the same God, as by law He forbade the making of similitude, 
did, by the extraordinary precept in the case of the serpent, interdict similitude . 196 If you 
reverence the same God, you have His law, “Thou shalt make no similitude.” If you look 

back, too, to the precept enjoining the subsequently made similitude, do you, too, imitate 
Moses: make not any likeness in opposition to the law, unless to you, too, God have bidden 


192 [The argument amounts to this, that symbols were not idols: yet even so, God only could ordain symbols 
that were innocent. The Nehushtan of King Hezekiah teaches us the “peril of Idolatry” (2 Kings xviii. 4) and 
that even a divine symbol may be destroyed justly if it be turned to a violation of the Second Commandment.] 

193 [On which see Dr. Smith, Diet, of the Bible, ad vocem “Serpent.”] 

194 i.e., the Jewish people, who are generally meant by the expression “the People” in the singular number in 
Scripture. We shall endeavour to mark that distinction by writing the word, as here, with a capital. 

195 See 1 Cor. x. 6, 11. 

196 On the principle that the exception proves the rule. As Oehler explains it: “By the fact of the extraordinary 
precept in that particular case, God gave an indication that likeness-making had before been forbidden and in- 
terdicted by Him.” 

197 Ex. xx. 4, etc. [The absurd “brazen serpent” which I have seen in the Church of St. Ambrose, in Milan, is 
with brazen hardihood affirmed to be the identical serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness. But it lacks 
all symbolic character, as it is not set upon a pole nor in any way fitted to a cross. It greatly resembles a vane set 
upon a pivot.] 

198 [Elucidation I.] 


124 


Idolatry Condemned by Baptism. To Make an Idol Is, in Fact, to Worship ... 


Chapter VI. — Idolatry Condemned by Baptism. To Make an Idol Is, in Fact, to 

Worship It. 

If no law of God had prohibited idols to be made by us; if no voice of the Holy Spirit 
uttered general menace no less against the makers than the worshippers of idols; from our 
sacrament itself we would draw our interpretation that arts of that kind are opposed to the 
faith. For how have we renounced the devil and his angels, if we make them? What divorce 
have we declared from them, I say not with whom, but dependent on whom, we live? What 
discord have we entered into with those to whom we are under obligation for the sake of 
our maintenance? Can you have denied with the tongue what with the hand you confess? 
unmake byword what by deed you make? preach one God, you who make so many? preach 
the true God, you who make false ones? “I make,” says one, “but I worship not;” as if there 
were some cause for which he dare not worship, besides that for which he ought not also to 
make, — the offence done to God, namely, in either case. Nay, you who make, that they may 
be able to be worshipped, do worship; and you worship, not with the spirit of some worthless 
perfume, but with your own; nor at the expense of a beast’s soul, but of your own. To them 
you immolate your ingenuity; to them you make your sweat a libation; to them you kindle 
the torch of your forethought. More are you to them than a priest, since it is by your means 
they have a priest; your diligence is their divinity . 199 Do you affirm that you worship not 
what you make ? Ah! but they affirm not so, to whom you slay this fatter, more precious and 
greater victim, your salvation. 


199 i.e., Unless you made them, they would not exist, and therefore [would not be regarded as divinities; 

therefore] your diligence gives them their divinity. 


125 



Grief of the Faithful at the Admission of Idol-Makers into the Church; Nay,... 


Chapter VII. — Grief of the Faithful at the Admission of Idol-Makers into the Church; 

Nay, Even into the Ministry. 

A whole day the zeal of faith will direct its pleadings to this quarter: bewailing that a 
Christian should come from idols into the Church; should come from an adversary workshop 
into the house of God; should raise to God the Father hands which are the mothers of idols; 
should pray to God with the hands which, out of doors, are prayed to in opposition to God; 
should apply to the Lord’s body those hands which confer bodies on demons. Nor is this 
sufficient. Grant that it be a small matter, if from other hands they receive what they con- 
taminate; but even those very hands deliver to others what they have contaminated. Idol- 
artificers are chosen even into the ecclesiastical order. Oh wickedness! Once did the Jews 
lay brands on Christ; these mangle His body daily. Oh hands to be cut off! Now let the 
saying, “If thy hand make thee do evil, amputate it ,” 200 see to it whether it were uttered by 
way of similitude merely. What hands more to be amputated than those in which scandal 
is done to the Lord’s body? 


200 Matt, xviii. 8. 


126 


Other Arts Made Subservient to Idolatry. Lawful Means of Gaining a Livelihood... 


Chapter VIII. — Other Arts Made Subservient to Idolatry. Lawful Means of Gaining 

a Livelihood Abundant. 

There are also other species of very many arts which, although they extend not to the 
making of idols, yet, with the same criminality, furnish the adjuncts without which idols 
have no power. For it matters not whether you erect or equip: if you have embellished his 
temple, altar, or niche; if you have pressed out gold-leaf, or have wrought his insignia, or 
even his house: work of that kind, which confers not shape, but authority, is more important. 
If the necessity of maintenance is urged so much, the arts have other species withal to 
afford means of livelihood, without outstepping the path of discipline, that is, without the 
confiction of an idol. The plasterer knows both how to mend roofs, and lay on stuccoes, 
and polish a cistern, and trace ogives, and draw in relief on party- walls many other ornaments 
beside likenesses. The painter, too, the marble mason, the bronze-worker, and every graver 
whatever, knows expansions of his own art, of course much easier of execution. For how 
much more easily does he who delineates a statue overlay a sideboard! How much 
sooner does he who carves a Mars out of a lime-tree, fasten together a chest! No art but is 
either mother or kinswoman of some neighbour 204 art: nothing is independent of its 
neighbour. The veins of the arts are many as are the concupiscences of men. “But there is 
difference in wages and the rewards of handicraft;” therefore there is difference, too, in the 
labour required. Smaller wages are compensated by more frequent earning. How many are 
the party-walls which require statues? How many the temples and shrines which are built 
for idols? But houses, and official residences, and baths, and tenements, how many are they? 
Shoe- and slipper-gilding is daily work; not so the gilding of Mercury and Serapis. Let that 
suffice for the gain 205 of handicrafts. Luxury and ostentation have more votaries than all 
superstition. Ostentation will require dishes and cups more easily than superstition. Luxury 
deals in wreaths, also, more than ceremony. When, therefore, we urge men generally to such 
kinds of handicrafts as do not come in contact with an idol indeed and with the things which 
are appropriate to an idol; since, moreover, the things which are common to idols are often 
common to men too; of this also we ought to beware that nothing be, with our knowledge, 
demanded by any person from our idols’ service. For if we shall have made that concession, 


201 See chaps, v. and xii. 

202 See chap, ii., “The expansiveness of idolatry.” 

203 Abacum. The word has various meanings; but this, perhaps, is its most general use: as, for instance, in 
Horace and Juvenal. 

204 Alterius = erepov which in the New Testament is = to “neighbour” in Rom. xiii. 8, etc. [Our author must 
have borne in mind Cicero’s beautiful words — “Etenim omnes artes quae ad humanitatem pertinent habent 
quoddam commune vinculum,” etc. Pro Archia, i. tom. x. p. 10. Ed. Paris, 1817.] 

205 Quaestum. Another reading is “questum,” which would require us to translate “plaint.” 


127 


Other Arts Made Subservient to Idolatry. Lawful Means of Gaining a Livelihood... 


and shall not have had recourse to the remedies so often used, I think we are not free of the 

on/r 

contagion of idolatry, we whose (not unwitting) hands are found busied in the tendence, 

or in the honour and service, of demons. 


206 “Quorum manus non ignorantium,” i.e., “the hands of whom not unwitting;” which may be rendered as 
above, because in English, as in the Latin, in adjective “unwitting” belongs to the “whose,” not to the “hands.” 

128 



Professions of Some Kinds Allied to Idolatry. Of Astrology in Particula... 


Chapter IX. — Professions of Some Kinds Allied to Idolatry. Of Astrology in Partic- 
ular. 

We observe among the arts also some professions liable to the charge of idolatry. Of 

astrologers there should be no speaking even; but since one in these days has challenged 
us, defending on his own behalf perseverance in that profession, I will use a few words. I 
allege not that he honours idols, whose names he has inscribed on the heaven , 209 to whom 
he has attributed all God’s power; because men, presuming that we are disposed of by the 
immutable arbitrament of the stars, think on that account that God is not to be sought after. 
One proposition I lay down: that those angels, the deserters from God, the lovers of wo- 
men, were likewise the discoverers of this curious art, on that account also condemned 
by God. Oh divine sentence, reaching even unto the earth in its vigour, whereto the unwitting 
render testimony! The astrologers are expelled just like their angels. The city and Italy are 
interdicted to the astrologers, just as heaven to their angels. There is the same penalty of 
exclusion for disciples and masters. “But Magi and astrologers came from the east.” We 
know the mutual alliance of magic and astrology. The interpreters of the stars, then, were 
the first to announce Christ’s birth the first to present Him “gifts.” By this bond, [must] I 
imagine, they put Christ under obligation to themselves? What then? Shall therefore the 
religion of those Magi act as patron now also to astrologers? Astrology now-a-days, forsooth, 
treats of Christ — is the science of the stars of Christ; not of Saturn, or Mars, and whomsoever 
else out of the same class of the dead it pays observance to and preaches? But, however, 
that science has been allowed until the Gospel, in order that after Christ’s birth no one 
should thence forward interpret any one’s nativity by the heaven. For they therefore offered 
to the then infant Lord that frankincense and myrrh and gold, to be, as it were, the close of 
worldly 214 sacrifice and glory, which Christ was about to do away. What, then? The 
dream — sent, doubtless, of the will of God — suggested to the same Magi, namely, that they 
should go home, but by another way, not that by which they came. It means this: that they 


207 “Ars” in Latin is very generally used to mean “a scientific art.” [See Titus iii. 14. English margin.] 

208 See Eph. v. 11, 12, and similar passages. 

209 i.e., by naming the stars after them. 

210 Comp. chap, iv., and the references there given. The idea seems founded on an ancient reading found in 
the Codex Alexandrinus of the LXX. in Gen. vi. 2, “angels of God,” for “sons of God.” 

211 See Tac. Ann. ii. 31, etc. (Oehler.) 

212 See Matt. ii. 

213 Because the names of the heathen divinities, which used to be given to the stars, were in many cases only 
names of dead men deified. 

214 Or, heathenish. 


129 


Professions of Some Kinds Allied to Idolatry. Of Astrology in Particula... 


9 l r 

should not walk in their ancient path. Not that Herod should not pursue them, who in 
fact did not pursue them; unwitting even that they had departed by another way, since he 
was withal unwitting by what way they came. Just so we ought to understand by it the right 
Way and Discipline. And so the precept was rather, that thence forward they should walk 
otherwise. So, too, that other species of magic which operates by miracles, emulous even in 

ni/r 

opposition to Moses, tried God’s patience until the Gospel. For thenceforward Simon 
Magus, just turned believer, (since he was still thinking somewhat of his juggling sect; to 
wit, that among the miracles of his profession he might buy even the gift of the Holy Spirit 
through imposition of hands) was cursed by the apostles, and ejected from the faith. Both 

he and that other magician, who was with Sergius Paulus, (since he began opposing himself 
to the same apostles) was mulcted with loss of eyes. The same fate, I believe, would astro- 

logers, too, have met, if any had fallen in the way of the apostles. But yet, when magic is 
punished, of which astrology is a species, of course the species is condemned in the genus. 
After the Gospel, you will nowhere find either sophists, Chaldeans, enchanters, diviners, or 
magicians, except as clearly punished. “Where is the wise, where the grammarian, where 
the disputer of this age? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this age?” You know 
nothing, astrologer, if you know not that you should be a Christian. If you did know it, you 
ought to have known this also, that you should have nothing more to do with that profession 
of yours which, of itself, fore-chants the climacterics of others, and might instruct you of 
its own danger. There is no part nor lot for you in that system of yours. He cannot hope 

991 

for the kingdom of the heavens, whose finger or wand abuses the heaven. 


215 Or, sect. 

216 See Ex. vii., viii., and comp. 2 Tim. iii. 8. 

217 See Acts viii. 9-24. 

218 See Acts xiii. 6-11. 

219 1 Cor. i. 20. 

220 See Acts viii. 2 1 . 

22 1 See 1 Cor. vii. 3 1 , “They that use this world as not abusing it.” The astrologer abuses the heavens by putting 
the heavenly bodies to a sinful use. 


130 


Of Schoolmasters and Their Difficulties. 


Chapter X. — Of Schoolmasters and Their Difficulties. 

Moreover, we must inquire likewise touching schoolmasters; nor only of them, but also 
all other professors of literature. Nay, on the contrary, we must not doubt that they are in 
affinity with manifold idolatry: first, in that it is necessary for them to preach the gods of 
the nations, to express their names, genealogies, honourable distinctions, all and singular; 
and further, to observe the solemnities and festivals of the same, as of them by whose means 
they compute their revenues. What schoolmaster, without a table of the seven idols, will 
yet frequent the Quinquatria? The very first payment of every pupil he consecrates both to 
the honour and to the name of Minerva; so that, even though he be not said “to eat of that 
which is sacrificed to idols” nominally (not being dedicated to any particular idol), he is 
shunned as an idolater. What less of defilement does he recur on that ground, than a 
business brings which, both nominally and virtually, is consecrated publicly to an idol? The 
Minervalia are as much Minerva’s, as the Saturnalia Saturn’s; Saturn’s, which must neces- 
sarily be celebrated even by little slaves at the time of the Saturnalia. New-year’s gifts likewise 
must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the 
feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the 
flamens’ wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honoured on the appointed holy-days. 
The same thing takes place on an idol’s birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. 
Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it he he who 
shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master? We know it may be said, “If 
teaching literature is not lawful to God’s servants, neither will learning be likewise;” and, 
“How could one be trained unto ordinary human intelligence, or unto any sense or action 
whatever, since literature is the means of training for all life? How do we repudiate secular 
studies, without which divine studies cannot be pursued?” Let us see, then, the necessity of 
literary erudition; let us reflect that partly it cannot be admitted, partly cannot be avoided. 
Learning literature is allowable for believers, rather than teaching; for the principle of 
learning and of teaching is different. If a believer teach literature, while he is teaching 
doubtless he commends, while he delivers he affirms, while he recalls he bears testimony 


222 i.e., the seven planets. 

223 See 1 Cor. viii. 10. 

224 i.e., because “he does not nominally eat,” etc. 

225 [Note the Christian Schoolmaster, already distinguished as such, implying the existence and the character 
of Christian schools. Of which, learn more from the Emperor Julian, afterwards.] 


131 


Of Schoolmasters and Their Difficulties. 


to, the praises of idols interspersed therein. He seals the gods themselves with this name; 

997 

whereas the Law, as we have said, prohibits “the names of gods to be pronounced,” and 
this name to be conferred on vanity. Hence the devil gets men’s early faith built up 
from the beginnings of their erudition. Inquire whether he who catechizes about idols 
commit idolatry. But when a believer learns these things, if he is already capable of under- 
standing what idolatry is, he neither receives nor allows them; much more if he is not yet 
capable. Or, when he begins to understand, it behoves him first to understand what he has 
previously learned, that is, touching God and the faith. Therefore he will reject those things, 
and will not receive them; and will be as safe as one who from one who knows it not, 
knowingly accepts poison, but does not drink it. To him necessity is attributed as an excuse, 
because he has no other way to learn. Moreover, the not teaching literature is as much easier 
than the not learning, as it is easier, too, for the pupil not to attend, than for the master not 
to frequent, the rest of the defilements incident to the schools from public and scholastic 
solemnities. 


226 i.e., the name of gods. 

227 Ex. xxiii. 13; Josh, xxiii. 7; Ps. xvi. 4; Hos. ii. 17; Zech. xiii. 2. 

228 i.e., the name of God. 

229 i.e., on an idol , which, as Isaiah says, is “vanity.” 


132 


Connection Between Covetousness and Idolatry. Certain Trades, However Gainful, . . . 


Chapter XI. — Connection Between Covetousness and Idolatry. Certain Trades, 

However Gainful, to Be Avoided. 

If we think over the rest of faults, tracing them from their generations, let us begin with 

9 

covetousness, “a root of all evils,” wherewith, indeed, some having been ensnared, “have 

931 

suffered shipwreck about faith.” Albeit covetousness is by the same apostle called idol- 

9 39 

atry. In the next place proceeding to mendacity, the minister of covetousness (of false 
swearing I am silent, since even swearing is not lawful ) — is trade adapted for a servant 
of God? But, covetousness apart, what is the motive for acquiring? When the motive for 
acquiring ceases, there will be no necessity for trading. Grant now that there be some 
righteousness in business, secure from the duty of watchfulness against covetousness and 
mendacity; I take it that that trade which pertains to the very soul and spirit of idols, which 
pampers every demon, falls under the charge of idolatry. Rather, is not that the principal 
idolatry? If the selfsame merchandises — frankincense, I mean, and all other foreign produc- 
tions — used as sacrifice to idols, are of use likewise to men for medicinal ointments, to us 
Christians also, over and above, for solaces of sepulture, let them see to it. At all events, while 
the pomps, while the priesthoods, while the sacrifices of idols, are furnished by dangers, by 
losses, by inconveniences, by cogitations, by runnings to and fro, or trades, what else are 
you demonstrated to be but an idols’ agent? Let none contend that, in this way, exception 
may be taken to all trades. All graver faults extend the sphere for diligence in watchfulness 
proportionably to the magnitude of the danger; in order that we may withdraw not only 
from the faults, but from the means through which they have being. For although the fault 
be done by others, it makes no difference if it be by my means. In no case ought I to be ne- 
cessary to another, while he is doing what to me is unlawful. Hence I ought to understand 
that care must be taken by me, lest what I am forbidden to do be done by my means. In 
short, in another cause of no lighter guilt I observe that fore-judgment. In that I am inter- 
dicted from fornication, I furnish nothing of help or connivance to others for that purpose; 
in that I have separated my own flesh itself from stews, I acknowledge that I cannot exercise 
the trade of pandering, or keep that kind of places for my neighbour’s behoof. So, too, the 
interdiction of murder shows me that a trainer of gladiators also is excluded from the Church; 
nor will any one fail to be the means of doing what he subministers to another to do. Behold, 
here is a more kindred fore-judgment: if a purveyor of the public victims come over to the 
faith, will you permit him to remain permanently in that trade? or if one who is already a 


230 1 Tim. vi. 10. 

231 1 Tim. i. 19. 

232 Col. iii. 5. It has been suggested that for “quamvis” we should read “quum bis;” i.e., '‘seeing covetousness 
is twice called,” etc. The two places are Col. iii. 5, and Eph. v. 5. 

233 Matt. v. 34-37; Jas. v. 12. 


133 


Connection Between Covetousness and Idolatry. Certain Trades , However Gainful, . . . 


believer shall have undertaken that business, will you think that he is to be retained in the 
Church? No, I take it; unless any one will dissemble in the case of a frankincense-seller too. 
In sooth, the agency of blood pertains to some, that of odours to others. If, before idols were 
in the world, idolatry, hitherto shapeless, used to be transacted by these wares; if, even now, 
the work of idolatry is perpetrated, for the most part, without the idol, by burnings of odours; 
the frankincense-seller is a something even more serviceable even toward demons, for idolatry 

9 34 

is more easily carried on without the idol, than without the ware of the frankincense-seller. 

Let us interrogate thoroughly the conscience of the faith itself. With what mouth will a 
Christian frankincense-seller, if he shall pass through temples, with what mouth will he spit 
down upon and blow out the smoking altars, for which himself has made provision? With 
what consistency will he exorcise his own foster-children, to whom he affords his own 
house as store-room? Indeed, if he shall have ejected a demon, let him not congratulate 
himself on his faith, for he has not ejected an enemy, he ought to have had his prayer easily 
granted by one whom he is daily feeding. No art, then, no profession, no trade, which 
administers either to equipping or forming idols, can be free from the title of idolatry; unless 
we interpret idolatry to be altogether something else than the service of idol-tendence. 


234 [The aversion of the early Christian Fathers passim to the ceremonial use of incense finds one explanation 
here.] 

235 i.e., the demons, or idols, to whom incense is burned. 

236 i.e., from one possessed. 

237 i.e., The demon, in gratitude for the incense which the man daily feeds him with, ought to depart out of 
the possessed at his request. 


134 



Further Answers to the Plea, Flow Am I to Live? 


Chapter XII. — Further Answers to the Plea, How Am I to Live? 

In vain do we flatter ourselves as to the necessities of human maintenance, if — after 
faith sealed — we say, “I have no means to live?” For here I will now answer more fully 

that abrupt proposition. It is advanced too late. For after the similitude of that most prudent 
builder , 240 who first computes the costs of the work, together with his own means, lest, 
when he has begun, he afterwards blush to find himself spent, deliberation should have been 
made before. But even now you have the Lord’s sayings, as examples taking away from you 
all excuse. For what is it you say? “I shall be in need.” But the Lord calls the needy “happy .” 241 
“I shall have no food.” But “think not,” says He, “about food;” and as an example of 
clothing we have the lilies. “My work was my subsistence.” Nay, but “all things are to be 
sold, and divided to the needy .” 244 “But provision must be made for children and posterity.” 
“None, putting his hand on the plough, and looking back, is fit” for work . 245 “But I was 
under contract.” “None can serve two lords .” 246 If you wish to be the Lord’s disciple, it is 
necessary you “take your cross, and follow the Lord:” your cross; that is, your own straits 
and tortures, or your body only, which is after the manner of a cross. Parents, wives, children, 
will have to be left behind, for God’s sake. Do you hesitate about arts, and trades, and 
about professions likewise, for the sake of children and parents? Even there was it demon- 
strated to us, that both “dear pledges ,” 249 and handicrafts, and trades, are to be quite left 
behind for the Lord’s sake; while James and John, called by the Lord, do leave quite behind 
both father and ship;" while Matthew is roused up from the toll-booth; while even 

9 r 9 

burying a father was too tardy a business for faith. None of them whom the Lord chose 


238 i.e., in baptism. 

239 See above, chaps, v. and viii. [One is reminded here of the famous pleasantry of Dr. Johnson; see Boswell.] 

240 See Luke xiv. 28-30. 

241 Luke vi. 20. 

242 Matt. vi. 25, 31, etc.; Luke xii. 22-24. 

243 Matt. vi. 28; Luke xii. 28. 

244 Matt. xix. 21; Luke xviii. 22. 

245 Luke ix. 62, where the words are, “is fit for the kingdom of God.” 

246 Matt. vi. 24; Luke xvi. 13. 

247 Matt. xvi. 24; Mark viii. 34; Luke ix. 23; xiv. 27. 

248 Luke xiv. 26; Mark x. 29, 30; Matt. xix. 27-30. Compare these texts with Tertullian’s words, and see the 
testimony he thus gives to the deity of Christ. 

249 i.e., any dear relations. 

250 Matt. iv. 21, 22; Marki. 19, 20; Luke v. 10, 11. 

251 Matt. ix. 9; Mark ii. 14; Luke v. 29. 

252 Luke ix. 59, 60. 


135 


Further Answers to the Plea, Flow Am I to Live? 


to Him said, “I have no means to live.” Faith fears not famine. It knows, likewise, that hunger 
is no less to be contemned by it for God’s sake, than every kind of death. It has learnt not 
to respect life-, how much more/ood? [You ask] “How many have fulfilled these conditions?” 

OCT 

But what with men is difficult, with God is easy. Let us, however, comfort ourselves about 

the gentleness and clemency of God in such wise, as not to indulge our “necessities” up to 
the point of affinities with idolatry, but to avoid even from afar every breath of it, as of a 
pestilence. [And this] not merely in the cases forementioned, but in the universal series of 
human superstition; whether appropriated to its gods, or to the defunct, or to kings, as 
pertaining to the selfsame unclean spirits, sometimes through sacrifices and priesthoods, 
sometimes through spectacles and the like, sometimes through holy-days. 


253 Matt. xix. 26; Luke i. 37; xviii. 27. 


136 


Of the Observance of Days Connected with Idolatry. 


Chapter XIII. — Of the Observance of Days Connected with Idolatry. 

But why speak of sacrifices and priesthoods? Of spectacles, moreover, and pleasures of 
that kind, we have already filled a volume of their own . 254 In this place must be handled the 
subject of holidays and other extraordinary solemnities, which we accord sometimes to our 
wantonness, sometimes to our timidity, in opposition to the common faith and Discipline. 
The first point, indeed, on which I shall join issue is this: whether a servant of God ought 
to share with the very nations themselves in matters of his kind either in dress, or in food, 
or in any other kind of their gladness. “To rejoice with the rejoicing, and grieve with the 

ore 

grieving,” is said about brethren by the apostle when exhorting to unanimity. But, for 
these purposes, “There is nought of communion between light and darkness,” between 
life and death or else we rescind what is written, “The world shall rejoice, but ye shall 
grieve.” ' If we rejoice with the world, there is reason to fear that with the world we shall 
grieve too. But when the world rejoices, let us grieve; and when the world afterward grieves, 
we shall rejoice. Thus, too, Eleazar in Hades, (attaining refreshment in Abraham’s 
bosom) and the rich man, (on the other hand, set in the torment of fire) compensate, by an 
answerable retribution, their alternate vicissitudes of evil and good. There are certain gift- 
days, which with some adjust the claim of honour, with others the debt of wages. “Now, 
then,” you say, “I shall receive back what is mine, or pay back what is another’s.” If men 
have consecrated for themselves this custom from superstition, why do you, estranged as 
you are from all their vanity, participate in solemnities consecrated to idols; as if for you 
also there were some prescript about a day, short of the observance of a particular day, to 
prevent your paying or receiving what you owe a man, or what is owed you by a man? Give 
me the form after which you wish to be dealt with. For why should you skulk withal, when 
you contaminate your own conscience by your neighbour’s ignorance? If you are not un- 
known to be a Christian, you are tempted, and you act as if you were not a Christian against 
your neighbour’s conscience; if, however, you shall be disguised withal,” you are the slave 


254 The treatise De Spectaculis [soon to follow, in this volume.] 

255 Rom. xii. 15. 

256 See 2 Cor. vi. 14. In the De Sped. xxvi. Tertullian has the same quotation (Oehler). And there, too, he 
adds, as here, “between life and death.” 

257 John xvi. 20. It is observable that Tertullian here translates Koapov by “seculum.” 

258 i.e., Lazarus, Luke xvi. 19-31. 

259 “Apud inferos,” used clearly here by Tertullian of a place of happiness. Augustine says he never finds it 
so used in Scripture. See Ussher’s “Answer to a Jesuit” on the Article, “He descended into hell.” [See Elucid. X. 
p. 59, supra.] 

260 i.e., if you are unknown to be a Christian: “dissimulaberis.” This is Oehler’s reading; but Latinius and Fr. 
Junis would read “Dissimulaveris,” ="if you dissemble the fact” of being a Christian, which perhaps is better. 

137 


Of the Observance of Days Connected with Idolatry. 


of the temptation. At all events, whether in the latter or the former way, you are guilty of 
being “ashamed of God.” But “whosoever shall be ashamed of Me in the presence of men, 

of him will I too be ashamed,” says He, “in the presence of my Father who is in the heav- 


261 So Mr. Dodgson renders very well. 

262 Matt. x. 33; Mark viii. 38; Luke ix. 26; 2 Tim. ii. 12. 


138 


Of Blasphemy. One of St. Paul's Sayings. 


Chapter XIV. — Of Blasphemy. One of St. Paul’s Sayings. 

But, however, the majority (of Christians) have by this time induced the belief in their 
mind that it is pardonable if at any time they do what the heathen do, for fear “the Name 
be blasphemed.” Now the blasphemy which must quite be shunned by us in every way is, I 
take it, this: If any of us lead a heathen into blasphemy with good cause, either by fraud, or 
by injury, or by contumely, or any other matter of worthy complaint, in which “the Name” 
is deservedly impugned, so that the Lord, too, be deservedly angry. Else, if of all blasphemy 
it has been said, “By your means My Name is blasphemed,” we all perish at once; since 
the whole circus, with no desert of ours, assails “the Name” with wicked suffrages. Let us 
cease (to be Christians) and it will not be blasphemed! On the contrary, while we are, let it 
be blasphemed: in the observance, not the overstepping, of discipline; while we are being 
approved, not while we are being reprobated. Oh blasphemy, bordering on martyrdom, 
which now attests me to be a Christian , 264 while for that very account it detests me! The 
cursing of well-maintained Discipline is a blessing of the Name. “If,” says he, “I wished to 
please men, I should not be Christ’s servant.” But the same apostle elsewhere bids us take 
care to please all: “As I,” he says, “please all by all means. ”“ No doubt he used to please 
them by celebrating the Saturnalia and New-year’s day! [Was it so] or was it by moderation 
and patience? by gravity, by kindness, by integrity? In like manner, when he is saying, “I 
have become all things to all, that I may gain all,” does he mean “to idolaters an idolater?” 
“to heathens a heathen?” “to the worldly worldly?” But albeit he does not prohibit us from 
having our conversation with idolaters and adulterers, and the other criminals, saying, 
“Otherwise ye would go out from the world,” of course he does not so slacken those reins 
of conversation that, since it is necessary for us both to live and to mingle with sinners, we 
may be able to sin with them too. Where there is the intercourse of life, which the apostle 
concedes, there is sinning, which no one permits. To live with heathens is lawful, to die with 
them is not. Let us live with all;” let us be glad with them, out of community of nature, 
not of superstition. We are peers in soul, not in discipline; fellow-possessors of the world, 
not of error. But if we have no right of communion in matters of this kind with strangers, 


263 Isa. lii. 5; Ezek. xxxvi. 20, 23. Cf. 2 Sam. xii. 14; Rom. ii. 24. 

264 [This play on the words is literally copied from the original — “quae tunc me testatur Christianum, cum 
propter ea me detestatur.”] 

265 St. Paul. Gal. i. 10. 

266 1 Cor. x. 32, 33. 

267 1 Cor. ix. 22. 

268 1 Cor. v. 10. 

269 i.e., by sinning (Oehler), for “the wages of sin is death.” 

270 There seems to be a play on the word “convivere” (whence “convivium,” etc.), as in Cic. de Sen. xiii. 


139 


Of Blasphemy. One of St. Paul's Sayings. 


how far more wicked to celebrate them among brethren! Who can maintain or defend this? 
The Holy Spirit upbraids the Jews with their holy-days. “Your Sabbaths, and new moons, 
and ceremonies,” says He, “My soul hateth.” By us, to whom Sabbaths are strange, 
and the new moons and festivals formerly beloved by God, the Saturnalia and New-year’s 
and Midwinter’s festivals and Matronalia are frequented — presents come and go — New- 
year’s gifts — games join their noise — banquets join their din! Oh better fidelity of the nations 
to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself! Not the Lord’s day, 
not Pentecost, even if they had known them, would they have shared with us; for they would 
fear lest they should seem to be Christians. We are not apprehensive lest we seem to be 
heathens'. If any indulgence is to be granted to the flesh, you have it. I will not say your own 
days, but more too; for to the heathens each festive day occurs but once annually: you 

974 

have a festive day every eighth day. Call out the individual solemnities of the nations, 

97/r 

and set them out into a row, they will not be able to make up a Pentecost. 


271 Isa. i. 14, etc. 

272 [This is noteworthy. In the earlier days sabbaths (Saturdays) were not unobserved, but, it was a concession 
pro tempore, to Hebrew Christians.] 

273 i.e., perhaps your own birthdays. [See cap. xvi. infra.] Oehler seems to think it means, “all other Christian 
festivals beside Sunday.” 

274 [“An Easter Day in every week.” — Keble.] 

275 i.e., a space of fifty days, see Deut. xvi. 10; and comp. Hooker, Ecc. Pol. iv. 13, 7, ed. Keble. 


140 


Concerning Festivals in Honour of Emperors, Victories, and the Like. Examples... 


Chapter XV. — Concerning Festivals in Honour of Emperors, Victories, and the 

Like. Examples of the Three Children and Daniel. 

'yif. 

But “let your works shine,” saith He; but now all our shops and gates shine! You will 

now-a-days find more doors of heathens without lamps and laurel -wreaths than of Christians. 
What does the case seem to be with regard to that species (of ceremony) also? If it is an 
idol’s honour, without doubt an idol’s honour is idolatry. If it is for a man’s sake, let us again 
consider that all idolatry is for man’s sake; let us again consider that all idolatry is a 
worship done to men, since it is generally agreed even among their worshippers that aforetime 
the gods themselves of the nations were men; and so it makes no difference whether that 
superstitious homage be rendered to men of a former age or of this. Idolatry is condemned, 
not on account of the persons which are set up for worship, but on account of those its ob- 
servances, which pertain to demons. “The things which are Caesar’s are to be rendered to 
Caesar.” It is enough that He set in apposition thereto, and to God the things which are 
God’s.” What things, then, are Caesar’s? Those, to wit, about which the consultation was 
then held, whether the poll-tax should be furnished to Caesar or no. Therefore, too, the Lord 
demanded that the money should be shown Him, and inquired about the image, whose it 
was; and when He had heard it was Caesar’s, said, “Render to Caesar what are Caesar’s, and 
what are God’s to God;” that is, the image of Caesar, which is on the coin, to Caesar, and the 
image of God, which is on man, to God; so as to render to Caesar indeed money, to God 

yourself. Otherwise, what will be God’s, if all things are Caesar’s? “Then,” do you say, “the 
lamps before my doors, and the laurels on my posts are an honour to God?” They are there 
of course, not because they are an honour to God, but to him who is honour in God’s stead 
by ceremonial observances of that kind, so far as is manifest, saving the religious performance, 
which is in secret appertaining to demons. For we ought to be sure if there are any whose 
notice it escapes through ignorance of this world’s literature, that there are among the Ro- 
mans even gods of entrances; Cardea (Hinge-goddess), called after hinges, and Forculus 
(Door-god) after doors, and Limentinus (Threshold-god) after the threshold, and Janus 
himself (Gate-god) after the gate: and of course we know that, though names be empty and 
feigned, yet, when they are drawn down into superstition, demons and every unclean spirit 
seize them for themselves, through the bond of consecration. Otherwise demons have no 
name individually, but they there find a name where they find also a token. Among the 
Greeks likewise we read of Apollo Thyraeus, i.e. of the door, and the Antelii, or Anthelii, 
demons, as presiders over entrances. These things, therefore, the Holy Spirit foreseeing from 


276 Matt. v. 16. 

277 See chap. ix. p. 152, note 4. 

278 Matt. xxii. 21; Mark xii. 17; Luke xx. 25. 

279 See Gen. i. 26, 27; ix. 6; and comp. 1 Cor. xi. 7. 


141 


Concerning Festivals in Honour of Emperors, Victories, and the Like. Examples... 


the beginning, fore-chanted, through the most ancient prophet Enoch, that even entrances 
would come into superstitious use. For we see too that other entrances are adored in the 
baths. But if there are beings which are adored in entrances, it is to them that both the lamps 
and the laurels will pertain. To an idol you will have done whatever you shall have done to 
an entrance. In this place I call a witness on the authority also of God; because it is not safe 
to suppress whatever may have been shown to one, of course for the sake of all. I know that 
a brother was severely chastised, the same night, through a vision, because on the sudden 
announcement of public rejoicings his servants had wreathed his gates. And yet himself 
had not wreathed, or commanded them to be wreathed; for he had gone forth from home 
before, and on his return had reprehended the deed. So strictly are we appraised with God 

ooi 

in matters of this kind, even with regard to the discipline of our family. Therefore, as to 
what relates to the honours due to kings or emperors, we have a prescript sufficient, that it 
behoves us to be in all obedience, according to the apostle’s precept, subject to magis- 
trates, and princes, and powers;” but within the limits of discipline, so long as we keep 
ourselves separate from idolatry. For it is for this reason, too, that that example of the three 
brethren has forerun us, who, in other respects obedient toward king Nebuchodonosor re- 
jected with all constancy the honour to his image, proving that whatever is extolled beyond 
the measure of human honour, unto the resemblance of divine sublimity, is idolatry. So 
too, Daniel, in all other points submissive to Darius, remained in his duty so long as it was 
free from danger to his religion; for, to avoid undergoing that danger, he feared the royal 
lions no more than they the royal fires. Fet, therefore, them who have no light, light their 
lamps daily; let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels 
doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their 
penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have 
renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple. I have said too little. If you have re- 
nounced stews, clothe not your own house with the appearance of a new brothel. 


280 The word is the same as that for “the mouth” of a river, etc. Hence Oehler supposes the “entrances” or 
“mouths” here referred to to be the mouths of fountains, where nymphs were supposed to dwell. Nympha is 
supposed to be the same word as Lympha. See Hor. Sat. i. 5, 97; and Macleane’s note. 

281 [He seems to refer to some Providential event, perhaps announced in a dream, not necessarily out of the 
course of common occurrences.] 

282 Rom. xiii. 1, etc.; 1 Pet. ii, 13, 14. 

283 Tit. iii. 1. 

284 Dan. iii. 

285 Dan. vi. 

286 Matt. v. 14; Phil. ii. 15. 

287 Ps. i. l-3;xcii. 12-15. 


142 


Concerning Private Festivals. 


Chapter XVI. — Concerning Private Festivals. 

Touching the ceremonies, however, of private and social solemnities — as those of the 
white toga, of espousals, of nuptials, of name-givings — I should think no danger need be 
guarded against from the breath of the idolatry which is mixed up with them. For the causes 
are to be considered to which the ceremony is due. Those above-named I take to be clean 
in themselves, because neither manly garb, nor the marital ring or union, descends from 
honours done to any idol. In short, I find no dress cursed by God, except a woman’s dress 
on a man: for “cursed,” saith He, “is every man who clothes himself in woman’s attire.” 

The toga, however, is a dress of manly name as well as of manly use. God no more pro- 
hibits nuptials to be celebrated than a name to be given. “But there are sacrifices appropriated 
to these occasions.” Let me be invited, and let not the title of the ceremony be “assistance 
at a sacrifice,” and the discharge of my good offices is at the service of my friends. Would 
that it were “at their service” indeed, and that we could escape seeing what is unlawful for 
us to do. But since the evil one has so surrounded the world with idolatry, it will be lawful 
for us to be present at some ceremonies which see us doing service to a man, not to an idol. 
Clearly, if invited unto priestly function and sacrifice, I will not go, for that is service pecu- 
liar to an idol; but neither will I furnish advice, or expense, or any other good office in a 
matter of that kind. If it is on account of the sacrifice that I be invited, and stand by, I shall 
be partaker of idolatry; if any other cause conjoins me to the sacrificer, I shall be merely a 
spectator of the sacrifice . 290 


288 Tertullian should have added, “and a man’s on a woman.” See Deut. xxii. 5. Moreover, the word “cursed” 
is not used there, but “abomination” is. 

289 Because it was called toga virilis — “the manly toga.” 

290 [1 Cor. viii. The law of the inspired apostle seems as rigorous here and in 1 Cor. x. 27-29.] 


143 


The Cases of Servants and Other Officials. What Offices a Christian Man... 


Chapter XVII. — The Cases of Servants and Other Officials. What Offices a Christian 

Man May Hold. 

But what shall believing servants or children" do? officials likewise, when attending 
on their lords, or patrons, or superiors, when sacrificing? Well, if any one shall have handed 
the wine to a sacrificer, nay, if by any single word necessary or belonging to a sacrifice he 
shall have aided him, he will be held to be a minister of idolatry. Mindful of this rule, we 
can render service even “to magistrates and powers,” after the example of the patriarchs and 
the other forefathers, who obeyed idolatrous kings up to the confine of idolatry. Hence 
arose, very lately, a dispute whether a servant of God should take the administration of any 
dignity or power, if he be able, whether by some special grace, or by adroitness, to keep 
himself intact from every species of idolatry; after the example that both Joseph and Daniel, 
clean from idolatry, administered both dignity and power in the livery and purple of the 
prefecture of entire Egypt or Babylonia. And so let us grant that it is possible for any one to 
succeed in moving, in whatsoever office, under the mere name of the office, neither sacrificing 
nor lending his authority to sacrifices; not farming out victims; not assigning to others the 
care of temples; not looking after their tributes; not giving spectacles at his own or the 
public charge, or presiding over the giving them; making proclamation or edict for no 
solemnity; not even taking oaths: moreover (what comes under the head of power), neither 
sitting in judgment on any one’s life or character, for you might bear with his judging about 
money; neither condemning nor fore-condemning;" binding no one, imprisoning or tor- 
turing no one — if it is credible that all this is possible. 


291 This is Oehler’s reading; Regaltius and Fr. Junius would read “liberti” = freedmen. I admit that in this 
instance I prefer their reading; among other reasons it answers better to “patronis” ="patrons.” 

292 Majores. Of course the word may be rendered simply “ancients;” but I have kept the common meaning 
“forefathers.” 

293 “The judge condemns, the legislator fore-condemns.” — Rigaltius (Oehler.) 


144 



Dress as Connected with Idolatry. 


Chapter XVIII. — Dress as Connected with Idolatry. 

But we must now treat of the garb only and apparatus of office. There is a dress proper 
to every one, as well for daily use as for office and dignity. That famous purple, therefore, 
and the gold as an ornament of the neck, were, among the Egyptians and Babylonians, ensigns 
of dignity, in the same way as bordered, or striped, or palm- embroidered togas, and the 
golden wreaths of provincial priests, are now; but not on the same terms. For they used only 
to be conferred, under the name of honour, on such as deserved the familiar friendship of 
kings (whence, too, such used to be styled the “purpled-men ” 294 of kings, just as among 
us, some, from their white toga, are called “candidates” ); but not on the understanding 
that that garb should be tied to priesthoods also, or to any idol-ceremonies. For if that were 
the case, of course men of such holiness and constancy 297 would instantly have refused the 
defiled dresses; and it would instantly have appeared that Daniel had been no zealous slave 
to idols, nor worshipped Bel, nor the dragon, which long after did appear. That purple, 
therefore, was simple, and used not at that time to be a mark of dignity among the bar- 
barians, but of nobility . 299 For as both Joseph, who had been a slave, and Daniel, who 
through 300 captivity had changed his state, attained the freedom of the states of Babylon 

1A1 

and Egypt through the dress of barbaric nobility; so among us believers also, if need so 
be, the bordered toga will be proper to be conceded to boys, and the stole to girls, “ as en- 
signs of birth, not of power; of race, not of office; of rank, not of superstition. But the purple, 
or the other ensigns of dignities and powers, dedicated from the beginning to idolatry en- 
grafted on the dignity and the powers, carry the spot of their own profanation; since, 
moreover, bordered and striped togas, and broad-barred ones, are put even on idols them- 
selves; and fasces also, and rods, are borne before them; and deservedly, for demons are the 
magistrates of this world: they bear the fasces and the purples, the ensigns of one college. 
What end, then, will you advance if you use the garb indeed, but administer not the functions 
of it? In things unclean, none can appear clean. If you put on a tunic defiled in itself, it per- 
haps may not be defiled through you; but you, through it, will be unable to be clean. Now 


294 Or, “purpurates.” 

295 [Not us Christians, but us Roman citizens.] 

296 Or, “white-men.” 

297 Or, “consistency.” 

298 i.e., Official character. 

299 Or, “free” or “good” “birth.” 

300 Or, “during.” 

301 i.e., the dress was the sign that they had obtained it. 

302 I have departed from Oehler’s reading here, as I have not succeeded in finding that the “stola” was a boy’s 
garment; and, for grammatical reasons, the reading of Gelenius and Pamelius (which I have taken) seems best. 

145 



Dress as Connected with Idolatry. 


by this time, you who argue about “Joseph” and “Daniel,” know that things old and new, 
rude and polished, begun and developed, slavish and free, are not always comparable. For 
they, even by their circumstances, were slaves; but you, the slave of none, in so far as you 
are the slave of Christ alone , 304 who has freed you likewise from the captivity of the world, 
will incur the duty of acting after your Lord’s pattern. That Lord walked in humility and 
obscurity, with no definite home: for “the Son of man,” said He, “hath not where to lay His 

one 

head;” unadorned in dress, for else He had not said, “Behold, they who are clad in soft 

onzr 

raiment are in kings’ houses:” in short, inglorious in countenance and aspect, just as 

on 7 

Isaiah withal had fore-announced. If, also, He exercised no right of power even over His 

o no 

own followers, to whom He discharged menial ministry; if, in short, though conscious 
of His own kingdom , 309 He shrank back from being made a king , 310 He in the fullest 
manner gave His own an example for turning coldly from all the pride and garb, as well of 
dignity as of power. For if they were to be used, who would rather have used them than the 
Son of God? What kind and what number of fasces would escort Him? what kind of purple 
would bloom from His shoulders? what kind of gold would beam from His head, had He 
not judged the glory of the world to be alien both to Himself and to His? Therefore what 
He was unwilling to accept, He has rejected; what He rejected, He has condemned; what 
He condemned, He has counted as part of the devil’s pomp. For He would not have con- 
demned things, except such as were not His; but things which are not God’s, can be no 

Oil 

other’s but the devil’s. If you have forsworn “the devil’s pomp,” know that whatever there 
you touch is idolatry. Let even this fact help to remind you that all the powers and dignities 
of this world are not only alien to, but enemies of, God; that through them punishments 
have been determined against God’s servants; through them, too, penalties prepared for the 
impious are ignored. But “both your birth and your substance are troublesome to you in 
resisting idolatry.” For avoiding it, remedies cannot be lacking; since, even if they be 


303 See 1 Cor. ix. 19. 

304 St. Paul in his epistle glories in the title, “Paul, a slave,” or “bondman,” “of Christ Jesus.” 

305 Luke ix. 58; Matt. viii. 20. 

306 Matt. xi. 8; Luke vii. 25. 

307 Isa. liii. 2. 

308 See John xiii. 1-17. 

309 See John xviii. 36. 

310 Johnvi. 15. 

311 In baptism. 

312 i.e.. From your birth and means, you will be expected to fill offices which are in some way connected with 
idolatry. 


146 


Dress as Connected with Idolatry. 


lacking, there remains that one by which you will be made a happier magistrate, not in the 

in 

earth, but in the heavens. 


313 i.e.. Martyrdom (La Cerda, quoted by Oehler). For the idea of being “a magistrate in the heavens,” [sitting 

on a throne] compare such passages as Matt. xix. 28; Luke xxii. 28, 30; 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3; Rev. ii. 26, 27; iii. 21. 


147 


Concerning Military Senhce. 


Chapter XIX. — Concerning Military Service. 

In that last section, decision may seem to have been given likewise concerning military 
service, which is between dignity and power . 314 But now inquiry is made about this point, 
whether a believer may turn himself unto military service, and whether the military may be 
admitted unto the faith, even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to whom there is no 
necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no agreement between 

o 1 r 

the divine and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the 
devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot be due to two mas- 
ters — God and Caesar. And yet Moses carried a rod, and Aaron wore a buckle, and 

010 

John (Baptist) is girt with leather and Joshua the son of Nun leads a line of march; and 
the People warred: if it pleases you to sport with the subject. But how will a Christian man 

OIQ 

war, nay, how will he serve even in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away? 
For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had received the formula of their rule; albeit, 
likewise, a centurion had believed; still the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, unbe**d 
every soldier. No dress is lawful among us, if assigned to any unlawful action. 


314 Elucidation II. 

315 “Sacramentum” in Latin is, among other meanings, “a military oath.” 

316 “Virgam.” The vine switch, or rod, in the Roman army was a mark of the centurion’s (i.e., captain’s) rank. 

317 To fasten the ephod; hence the buckle worn by soldiers here referred to would probably be the belt buckle. 
Buckles were sometimes given as military rewards (White and Riddle). 

318 As soldiers with belts. 

319 Matt. xxvi. 52; 2 Cor. x. 4; John xviii. 36. 

320 See Luke iii. 12, 13. 

Matt. viii. 5, etc.; Luke vii. 1, etc. 


321 


148 


Concerning Idolatry in Words. 


Chapter XX. — Concerning Idolatry in Words. 

But, however, since the conduct according to the divine rule is imperilled, not merely 

077 

by deeds, but likewise by words, (for, just as it is written, “Behold the man and his deeds;” 
so, “Out of thy own mouth shalt thou be justified” ), we ought to remember that, even in 
words, also the inroad of idolatry must be foreguarded against, either from the defect of 
custom or of timidity. The law prohibits the gods of the nations from being named, not 

of course that we are not to pronounce their names, the speaking of which common inter- 
course extorts from us: for this must very frequently be said, “You find him in the temple 
of /Esculapius;” and, “I live in Isis Street;” and, “He has been made priest of Jupiter;” and 
much else after this manner, since even on men names of this kind are bestowed. I do not 
honour Saturnus if I call a man so, by his own name. I honour him no more than I do 
Marcus, if I call a man Marcus. But it says, “Make not mention of the name of other gods, 
neither be it heard from thy mouth.” The precept it gives is this, that we do not call them 
gods. For in the first part of the law, too, “Thou shalt not,” saith He, “use the name of the 
Lord thy God in a vain thing,” that is, in an idol. Whoever, therefore, honours an idol 
with the name of God, has fallen into idolatry. But if I speak of them as gods, something 
must be added to make it appear that I do not call them gods. For even the Scripture names 
“gods,” but adds “their,” viz. “of the nations:” just as David does when he had named “gods,” 
where he says, “But the gods of the nations are demons.” But this has been laid by me 
rather as a foundation for ensuing observations. However, it is a defect of custom to say, 
“By Hercules, So help me the god of faith;” while to the custom is added the ignorance of 

some, who are ignorant that it is an oath by Hercules. Further, what will an oath be, in the 
name of gods whom you have forsworn, but a collusion of faith with idolatry? For who does 
not honour them in whose name he swears? 


322 Neither Oehler nor any editor seems to have discovered the passage here referred to. 

323 Matt. xii. 37. 

324 Ex. xxiii. 13. [St. Luke, nevertheless, names Castor and Pollux, Acts xxviii. 2., on our author’s principle.] 

325 Ex. xxiii. 13. 

326 Ex. xx. 7. 

327 Because Scripture calls idols “vanities” and “vain things.” See 2 Kings xvii. 15, Ps. xxiv. 4, Isa. lix. 4, Deut. 
xxxii. 21, etc. 

328 Ps. xcvi. 5. The LXX. in whose version ed. Tisch. it is Ps. xcv. read 5aipovta, like Tertullian. Our version 
has “idols.” 

329 Mehercule. Medius Fidius. I have given the rendering of the latter, which seems preferred by Paley (Ov. 
Fast. vi. 213, note), who considers it = me dius (i.e., Deus) fidius juvet. Smith ( Lat . Diet, s.v.) agrees with him, 
and explains it, me deus fidius servet. White and Riddle (s.v.) take the me (which appears to be short) as a 
“demonstrative” particle or prefix, and explain, “By the God of truth!” “As true as heaven,” “Most certainly.” 

149 


Of Silent Acquiescence in Heathen Formularies. 


Chapter XXI. — Of Silent Acquiescence in Heathen Formularies. 

But it is a mark of timidity, when some other man binds you in the name of his gods, 
by the making of an oath, or by some other form of attestation, and you, for fear of discov- 

o on 

ery, remain quiet. For you equally, by remaining quiet, affirm their majesty, by reason 
of which majesty you will seem to be bound. What matters it, whether you affirm the gods 
of the nations by calling them gods, or by hearing them so called? Whether you swear by 
idols, or, when adjured by another, acquiesce? Why should we not recognize the subtleties 
of Satan, who makes it his aim that, what he cannot effect by our mouth, he may effect by 
the mouth of his servants, introducing idolatry into us through our ears? At all events, 
whoever the adjurer is, he binds you to himself either in friendly or unfriendly conjunction. 
If in unfriendly, you are now challenged unto battle, and know that you must fight. If in 
friendly, with how far greater security will you transfer your engagement unto the Lord, 
that you may dissolve the obligation of him through whose means the Evil One was seeking 
to annex you to the honour of idols, that is, to idolatry! All sufferance of that kind is idolatry. 
You honour those to whom, when imposed as authorities, you have rendered respect. I 
know that one (whom the Lord pardon!), when it had been said to him in public during a 
law-suit, “Jupiter be wroth with you,” answered, “On the contrary, with you.” What else 
would a heathen have done who believed Jupiter to be a god? For even had he not retorted 
the malediction by Jupiter (or other such like), yet, by merely returning a curse, he would 
have confirmed the divinity of Jove, showing himself irritated by a malediction in Jove’s 
name. For what is there to be indignant at, (if cursed) in the name of one whom you know 
to be nothing? For if you rave, you immediately affirm his existence, and the profession of 
your fear will be an act of idolatry. How much more, while you are returning the malediction 
in the name of Jupiter himself, are you doing honour to Jupiter in the same way as he who 
provoked you! But a believer ought to laugh in such cases, not to rave; nay, according to the 
precept, not to return a curse in the name of God even, but dearly to bless in the name 
of God, that you may both demolish idols and preach God, and fulfil discipline. 


330 i.e., for fear of being discovered to be a Christian (Oehler). 

331 See Matt. v. 44, 1 Pet. iii. 9, etc. 


150 


Of Accepting Blessing in the Name of Idols. 


Chapter XXII. — Of Accepting Blessing in the Name of Idols. 

Equally, one who has been initiated into Christ will not endure to be blessed in the name 
of the gods of the nations, so as not always to reject the unclean benediction, and to cleanse 
it out for himself by converting it Godward. To be blessed in the name of the gods of the 
nations is to be cursed in the name of God. If I have given an alms, or shown any other 
kindness, and the recipient pray that his gods, or the Genius of the colony, may be propitious 
to me, my oblation or act will immediately be an honour to idols, in whose name he returns 
me the favour of blessing. But why should he not know that I have done it for God’s sake; 
that God may rather be glorified, and demons may not be honoured in that which I have 
done for the sake of God? If God sees that I have done it for His sake, He equally sees that 
I have been unwilling to show that I did it for His sake, and have in a manner made His 

ill 

precept' a sacrifice to idols. Many say, “No one ought to divulge himself;” but I think 
neither ought he to deny himself. For whoever dissembles in any cause whatever, by being 
held as a heathen, does deny; and, of course, all denial is idolatry, just as all idolatry is 

o o o 

denial, whether in deeds or in words. 

75 


332 i.e., the precept which enjoins me to “do good and lend. 

333 Elucidation III. 


151 



Written Con tracts in the Name of Idols. Tacit Consen t. 


Chapter XXIII. — Written Contracts in the Name of Idols. Tacit Consent. 

But there is a certain species of that class, doubly sharpened in deed and word, and 
mischievous on either side, although it flatter you, as if it were free of danger in each; while 
it does not seem to be a deed, because it is not laid hold of as a word. In borrowing money 
from heathens under pledged securities, Christians give a guarantee under oath, and 
deny themselves to have done so. Of course, the time of the prosecution, and the place of 
the judgment seat, and the person of the presiding judge, decide that they knew themselves 
to have so done. Christ prescribes that there is to be no swearing. “I wrote,” says the 
debtor, “but I said nothing. It is the tongue, not the written letter, which kills.” Here I call 
Nature and Conscience as my witnesses: Nature, because even if the tongue in dictating re- 
mains motionless and quiet, the hand can write nothing which the soul has not dictated; 
albeit even to the tongue itself the soul may have dictated either something conceived by 
itself, or else something delivered by another. Now, lest it be said, “Another dictated,” I here 
appeal to Conscience whether, what another dictated, the soul entertains, and transmits 
unto the hand, whether with the concomitance or the inaction of the tongue. Enough, that 
the Lord has said faults are committed in the mind and the conscience. If concupiscence or 
malice have ascended into a man’s heart, He saith it is held as a deed. You therefore have 
given a guarantee; which clearly has “ascended into your heart,” which you can neither 
contend you were ignorant of nor unwilling; for when you gave the guarantee, you knew 
that you did it; when you knew, of course you were willing: you did it as well in act as in 
thought; nor can you by the lighter charge exclude the heavier, so as to say that it is clearly 

rendered false, by giving a guarantee for what you do not actually perform. “Yet I have not 


334 Or, “mortgaged.” 

335 This is, perhaps, the most obscure and difficult passage in the entire treatise. I have followed Oehler’s 
reading, and given what appears to be his sense; but the readings are widely different, and it is doubtful whether 
any is correct. I can scarcely, however, help thinking that the “se negant” here, and the “ tamen non negavi” below, 
are to be connected with the “puto autem nec negare” at the end of the former chapter; and that the true rendering 
is rather: “And [by so doing] deny themselves,” i.e., deny their Christian name and faith. “Doubtless a time of 
persecution,” such as the present time is — or “of prosecution,” which would make very good sense — “and the 
place of the tribunal, and the person of the presiding judge, require them to know themselves,” i.e., to have no 
shuffling or disguise. I submit this rendering with diffidence; but it does seem to me to suit the context better, 
and to harmonize better with the “Yet I have not denied,” i.e., my name and faith, which follows, and with the 
“denying letters” which are mentioned at the end of the chapter. — Tr. 

336 Mr. Dodgson renders “conceiveth;” and the word is certainly capable of that meaning. 

337 See Matt. v. 28. 

338 Oehler understands “the lighter crime” or “charge” to be “swearing;” the “heavier,” to be “denying the 
Lord Christ.” 


152 


Written Contracts in the Name of Idols. Tacit Consent. 


denied, because I have not sworn.” But you have sworn, since, even if you had done no such 
thing, you would still be said to swear, if you have even consented to so doing. Silence of 
voice is an unavailing plea in a case of writing-, and muteness of sound in a case of letters. 
For Zacharias, when punished with a temporary privation of voice, holds colloquy with his 
mind, and, passing by his bootless tongue, with the help of his hands dictates from his heart, 
and without his mouth pronounces the name of his son. Thus, in his pen there speaks a 
hand clearer than every sound, in his waxen tablet there is heard a letter more vocal that 
every mouth . 340 Inquire whether a man have spoken who is understood to have spoken . 341 
Pray we the Lord that no necessity for that kind of contract may ever encompass us; and if 
it should so fall out, may He give our brethren the means of helping us, or give us constancy 
to break off all such necessity, lest those denying letters, the substitutes for our mouth, be 
brought forward against us in the day of j udgment, sealed with the seals, not now of witnesses, 
but of angels! 


339 See Luke i. 20, 22, 62, 63. 

340 This is how Mr. Dodgson renders, and the rendering agrees with Oehler’s punctuation. [So obscure 
however, is Dodgson’s rendering that I have slightly changed the punctuation, to clarify it, and subjoin Oehler’s 
text.] But perhaps we may read thus: “He speaks in his pen; he is heard in his waxen tablet: the hand is clearer 
than every sound; the letter is more vocal than every mouth.” [Oehler reads thus: “Cum manibus suis a corde 
dictat et nomen filii sine ore pronuntiat: loquitur in stilo, auditur in cera manus omni sono clarior, littera omni 
ore vocalior.” I see no difficulty here.] 

341 Elucidation IV. 


153 


General Conclusion. 


Chapter XXIV. — General Conclusion. 

Amid these reefs and inlets, amid these shallows and straits of idolatry, Faith, her sails 
filled by the Spirit of God, navigates; safe if cautious, secure if intently watchful. But to such 
as are washed overboard is a deep whence is no out-swimming; to such as are run aground 
is inextricable shipwreck; to such as are engulphed is a whirlpool, where there is no breath- 
ing — even in idolatry. All waves thereof whatsoever suffocate; every eddy thereof sucks 
down unto Hades. Let no one say, “Who will so safely foreguard himself? We shall have to 

'1A') 

go out of the world!” As if it were not as well worth while to go out, as to stand in the 
world as an idolater! Nothing can be easier than caution against idolatry, if the fear of it be 
our leading fear; any “necessity” whatever is too trifling compared to such a peril. The 
reason why the Holy Spirit did, when the apostles at that time were consulting, relax the 
bond and yoke for us , 343 was that we might be free to devote ourselves to the shunning of 
idolatry. This shall be our Law, the more fully to be administered the more ready it is to 
hand; (a Law) peculiar to Christians, by means whereof we are recognised and examined 
by heathens. This Law must be set before such as approach unto the Faith, and inculcated 
on such as are entering it; that, in approaching, they may deliberate; observing it, may per- 
severe; not observing it, may renounce their name . 344 We will see to it, if, after the type of 
the Ark, there shall be in the Church raven, kite, dog, and serpent. At all events, an idolater 
is not found in the type of the Ark: no animal has been fashioned to represent an idolater. 
Let not that be in the Church which was not in the Ark . 345 


342 1 Cor. v. 10. 

343 Acts xv. 1-31. 

344 i.e., cease to be Christians (Rigalt., referred to by Oehler). 

345 [General references to Kaye (3d edition), which will be useful to those consulting that author’s Tertullian, 
for Elucidations of the De Idololatria, are as follows: Preface, p. xxiii. Then, pp. 56, 141, 206, 231, 300, 360, 343, 
360 and 362.] 


154 


Elucidations. 


Elucidations. 


I. 

(The Second Commandment, p. 64 . ) 

Tertullian’s teaching agrees with that of Clement of Alexandria 346 and with all the 
Primitive Fathers. But compare the Trent Catechism, (chapter ii„ quest. 17.) — “Nor let any 
one suppose that this commandment prohibits the arts of painting, modelling or sculpture, 
for, in the Scriptures we are informed that God himself commanded images of cherubim, 
and also of the brazen serpent, to be made, etc.” So far, the comparison is important, because 
while our author limits any inference from this instance as an exception, this Catechism 
turns it into a rule : and so far, we are only looking at the matter with reference to Art. But, 
the Catechism, (quest, xxiii. xxiv.), goes on to teach that images of the Saints, etc. ought to 
be made and honoured “as a holy practice.” It affirms, also, that it is a practice which has 
been attended with the greatest advantage to the faithful: which admits of a doubt, especially 
when the honour thus mentioned is everywhere turned into worship, precisely like that 
offered to the Brazen Serpent, when the People “burned incense to it,” and often much more. 
But even this is not my point; for that Catechism, with what verity need not be argued, af- 
firms, also, that this doctrine “derives confirmation from the monuments of the Apostolic 
age, the general Councils of the Church, and the writings of so many most holy and learned 
Fathers, who are of one accord upon the subject.” Doubtless they are “of one accord,” but all 
the other way. 


II. 

(Military service, cap. xix., p. 73.) 

This chapter must prepare us for a much more sweeping condemnation of the military 
profession in the De Spectaculis and the De Corona; but Neander’s judgment seems to me 
very just. The Corona, itself, is rather Montanistic than Montanist, in the opinion of some 
critics, among whom Gibbon is not to count for much, for the reasons given by Kaye (p. 
52), and others hardly less obvious. Surely, if this ascetic opinion and some similar instances 
were enough to mark a man as a heretic, what are we to say of the thousand crotchets 
maintained by good Christians, in our day? 


346 See vol. II., p. 186, this series. 


155 



Elucidations. 


III. 

(Passive idolatry, cap. xxii., pp. 74, 75.) 

Neander’s opinion as to the freedom of De Idololatria from Montanistic taint, is mildly 
questioned by Bp. Kaye, chiefly on the ground of the agreement of this chapter with the 
extravagances of the Scorpiace. He thinks “the utmost pitch” of such extravagance is reached 
in the positions here taken. But Neander’s judgment seems to me preferable. Lapsers usually 
give tokens of the bent of their minds, and unconsciously betray their inclinations before 
they themselves see whither they are tending. Thus they become victims of their own 
plausible self-deceptions. 


IV. 

(Tacit consents and reservations, cap. xxiii., p. 75.) 

It cannot be doubted that apart from the specific case which Tertullian is here maintain- 
ing, his appeal to conscience is maintained by reason, by the Morals of the Fathers and by 
Holy Scripture. Now compare with this the Morality which has been made dogmatic, among 
Latins, by the elevation of Liguori to the dignities of a “Saint” and a “Doctor of the Church.” 
Even Cardinal Newman cannot accept it without reservations, so thoroughly does it commit 
the soul to fraud and hypocrisy. See Liguori, Opp. Tom. II., pp. 34-44, and Meyrick, Moral 
Theology of the Church of Rome, London, 1855. Republished, with an Introduction, by the 
Editor of this Series, Baltimore, 1857. Also Newman, Apologia, p. 295 et seqq. 


156 



The Shows, or De Spectaculis. 


III. 

The Shows, or De Spectaculis. 347 

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.] 


Chapter I. 

Y e Servants of God, about to draw near to God, that you may make solemn consecration 
of yourselves to Him, seek well to understand the condition of faith, the reasons of the 
Truth, the laws of Christian Discipline, which forbid among other sins of the world, the 
pleasures of the public shows. Ye who have testified and confessed 349 that you have done 
so already, review the subject, that there may be no sinning whether through real or wilful 
ignorance. For such is the power of earthly pleasures, that, to retain the opportunity of still 
partaking of them, it contrives to prolong a willing ignorance, and bribes knowledge into 
playing a dishonest part. To both things, perhaps, some among you are allured by the views 
of the heathens who in this matter are wont to press us with arguments, such as these: (1) 
That the exquisite enjoyments of ear and eye we have in things external are not in the least 
opposed to religion in the mind and conscience; and (2) That surely no offence is offered 
to God, in any human enjoyment, by any of our pleasures, which it is not sinful to partake 
of in its own time and place, with all due honour and reverence secured to Him. But this is 
precisely what we are ready to prove: That these things are not consistent with true religion 
and true obedience to the true God. There are some who imagine that Christians, a sort of 
people ever ready to die, are trained into the abstinence they practise, with no other object 
than that of making it less difficult to despise life, the fastenings to it being severed as it 
were. They regard it as an art of quenching all desire for that which, so far as they are con- 


347 [It is the opinion of Dr. Neander that this treatise proceeded from our author before his lapse: but Bp. 
Kaye (p. xvi.) finds some exaggerated expressions in it, concerning the military life, which savour of Montanism. 
Probably they do, but had he written the tract as a professed Montanist, they would have been much less am- 
biguous, in all probability. At all events, a work so colourless that doctors can disagree about even its shading, 
must be regarded as practically orthodox. Exaggerated expressions are but the characteristics of the author’s 
genius. We find the like in all writers of strongly marked individuality. Neander dates this treatise circa a.d. 
197. That it was written at Carthage is the conviction of Kaye and Dr. Allix; see Kaye, p. 55.] 

348 [He speaks of Catechumens, called elsewhere Novitioli. See Bunsen, Hippol. III. Church and House-book, 
p. 5.] 

349 [Here he addresses the Fideles or Communicants , as we call them.] 


157 



Chapter I. 


cerned, they have emptied of all that is desirable; and so it is thought to be rather a thing of 
human planning and foresight, than clearly laid down by divine command. It were a grievous 
thing, forsooth, for Christians, while continuing in the enjoyment of pleasures so great, to 
die for God! It is not as they say; though, if it were, even Christian obstinacy might well give 
all submission to a plan so suitable, to a rule so excellent. 


158 



Chapter II. 


Chapter II. 

Then, again, every one is ready with the argument' that all things, as we teach, were 
created by God, and given to man for his use, and that they must be good, as coming all 
from so good a source; but that among them are found the various constituent elements of 
the public shows, such as the horse, the lion, bodily strength, and musical voice. It cannot, 
then, be thought that what exists by God’s own creative will is either foreign or hostile to 
Him; and if it is not opposed to Him, it cannot be regarded as injurious to His worshippers, 
as certainly it is not foreign to them. Beyond all doubt, too, the very buildings connected 
with the places of pub lie amusement, composed as they are of rocks, stones, marbles, pillars, 
are things of God, who has given these various things for the earth’s embellishment; nay, 
the very scenes are enacted under God’s own heaven. How skilful a pleader seems human 
wisdom to herself, especially if she has the fear of losing any of her delights — any of the 
sweet enjoyments of worldly existence! In fact, you will find not a few whom the imperilling 
of their pleasures rather than their life holds back from us. For even the weakling has no 
strong dread of death as a debt he knows is due by him; while the wise man does not look 
with contempt on pleasure, regarding it as a precious gift — in fact, the one blessedness of 
life, whether to philosopher or fool. Now nobody denies what nobody is ignorant of— for 
Nature herself is teacher of it — that God is the Maker of the universe, and that it is good, 
and that it is man’s by free gift of its Maker. But having no intimate acquaintance with the 
Highest, knowing Him only by natural revelation, and not as His “friends” — afar off, and 
not as those who have been brought nigh to Him — men cannot but be in ignorance alike 
of what He enjoins and what He forbids in regard to the administration of His world. They 
must be ignorant, too, of the hostile power which works against Him, and perverts to wrong 
uses the things His hand has formed; for you cannot know either the will or the adversary 
of a God you do not know. We must not, then, consider merely by whom all things were 
made, but by whom they have been perverted. We shall find out for what use they were 
made at first, when we find for what they were not. There is a vast difference between the 
corrupted state and that of primal purity, just because there is a vast difference between the 
Creator and the corrupter. Why, all sorts of evils, which as indubitably evils even the heathens 
prohibit, and against which they guard themselves, come from the works of God. Take, for 
instance, murder, whether committed by iron, by poison, or by magical enchantments. Iron 
and herbs and demons are all equally creatures of God. Has the Creator, withal, provided 
these things for man’s destruction? Nay, He puts His interdict on every sort of man-killing 
by that one summary precept, “Thou shalt not kill.” Moreover, who but God, the Maker of 
the world, put in its gold, brass, silver, ivory, wood, and all the other materials used in the 


350 [Kaye (p. 366), declares that all the arguments urged in this tract are comprised in two sentences of the 
Apology, cap. 38.] 


159 



Chapter II. 


manufacture of idols? Yet has He done this that men may set up a worship in opposition to 
Himself? On the contrary idolatry in His eyes is the crowning sin. What is there offensive 
to God which is not God’s? But in offending Him, it ceases to be His; and in ceasing to be 
His, it is in His eyes an offending thing. Man himself, guilty as he is of every iniquity, is not 
only a work of God — he is His image, and yet both in soul and body he has severed himself 
from his Maker. For we did not get eyes to minister to lust, and the tongue for speaking evil 
with, and ears to be the receptacle of evil speech, and the throat to serve the vice of gluttony, 
and the belly to be gluttony’s ally, and the genitals for unchaste excesses, and hands for deeds 
of violence, and the feet for an erring life; or was the soul placed in the body that it might 
become a thought-manufactory of snares, and fraud, and injustice? I think not; for if God, 
as the righteous ex-actor of innocence, hates everything like malignity — if He hates utterly 
such plotting of evil, it is clear beyond a doubt, that, of all things that have come from His 
hand, He has made none to lead to works which He condemns, even though these same 
works may be carried on by things of His making; for, in fact, it is the one ground of con- 
demnation, that the creature misuses the creation. We, therefore, who in our knowledge of 
the Lord have obtained some knowledge also of His foe — who, in our discovery of the Cre- 
ator, have at the same time laid hands upon the great corrupter, ought neither to wonder 
nor to doubt that, as the prowess of the corrupting and God-opposing angel overthrew in 
the beginning the virtue of man, the work and image of God, the possessor of the world, so 
he has entirely changed man’s nature — created, like his own, for perfect sinlessness — into 
his own state of wicked enmity against his Maker, that in the very thing whose gift to man, 

but not to him, had grieved him, he might make man guilty in God’s eyes, and set up his 
351 

own supremacy. 


351 [For the demonology of this treatise, compare capp. 10, 12, 13, 23, and see Kaye’s full but condensed 
statement (pp. 201-204), in his account of the writings, etc.] 


160 



Chapter III. 


Chapter III. 

Fortified by this knowledge against heathen views, let us rather turn to the unworthy 
reasonings of our own people; for the faith of some, either too simple or too scrupulous, 
demands direct authority from Scripture for giving up the shows, and holds out that the 
matter is a doubtful one, because such abstinence is not clearly and in words imposed upon 
God’s servants. Well, we never find it expressed with the same precision, “Thou shalt not 
enter circus or theatre, thou shalt not look on combat or show;” as it is plainly laid down, 
“Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not worship an idol; thou shalt not commit adultery or 
fraud.” But we find that that first word of David bears on this very sort of thing: “Blessed,” 

he says, “is the man who has not gone into the assembly of the impious, nor stood in the 
way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scorners.” Though he seems to have predicted be- 
forehand of that just man, that he took no part in the meetings and deliberations of the Jews, 
taking counsel about the slaying of our Lord, yet divine Scripture has ever far-reaching ap- 
plications: after the immediate sense has been exhausted, in all directions it fortifies the 
practice of the religious life, so that here also you have an utterance which is not far from a 
plain interdicting of the shows. If he called those few Jews an assembly of the wicked, how 
much more will he so designate so vast a gathering of heathens! Are the heathens less impious, 
less sinners, less enemies of Christ, than the Jews were then? And see, too, how other things 
agree. For at the shows they also stand in the way. For they call the spaces between the seats 
going round the amphitheatre, and the passages which separate the people running down, 
ways. The place in the curve where the matrons sit is called a chair. Therefore, on the con- 
trary, it holds, unblessed is he who has entered any council of wicked men, and has stood 
in any way of sinners, and has sat in any chair of scorners. We may understand a thing as 
spoken generally, even when it requires a certain special interpretation to be given to it. For 
some things spoken with a special reference contain in them general truth. When God ad- 
monishes the Israelites of their duty, or sharply reproves them, He has surely a reference to 
all men; when He threatens destruction to Egypt and Ethiopia, He surely pre- condemns 
every sinning nation, whatever. If, reasoning from species to genus, every nation that sins 
against them is an Egypt and Ethiopia; so also, reasoning from genus to species, with reference 
to the origin of shows, every show is an assembly of the wicked. 


352 Ex. xx. 14. 

353 Ps. i. 1. [Kaye’s censure of this use of the text, (p. 366) seems to me gratuitous.] 


161 


Chapter IV. 


Chapter IV. 

Lest any one think that we are dealing in mere argumentative subtleties, I shall turn to 
that highest authority of our “seal” itself. When entering the water, we make profession of 
the Christian faith in the words of its rule; we bear public testimony that we have renounced 
the devil, his pomp, and his angels. Well, is it not in connection with idolatry, above all, that 
you have the devil with his pomp and his angels? from which, to speak briefly — for I do not 
wish to dilate — you have every unclean and wicked spirit. If, therefore, it shall be made plain 
that the entire apparatus of the shows is based upon idolatry, beyond all doubt that will 
carry with it the conclusion that our renunciatory testimony in the laver of baptism has 
reference to the shows, which, through their idolatry, have been given over to the devil, and 
his pomp, and his angels. We shall set forth, then, their several origins, in what nursing- 
places they have grown to manhood; next the titles of some of them, by what names they 
are called; then their apparatus, with what superstitions they are observed; (then their places, 
to what patrons they are dedicated;) then the arts which minister to them, to what authors 
they are traced. If any of these shall be found to have had no connection with an idol-god, 
it will be held as free at once from the taint of idolatry, and as not coming within the range 
of our baptismal abjuration . 354 


354 [Neander argues with great force that in referring to Scripture and not at all to the “new Prophecy,” our 
author shows his orthodoxy. We may add “ that highest authority” to which he appeals in this chapter.] 


162 



Chapter V. 


Chapter V. 

In the matter of their origins, as these are somewhat obscure and but little known to 
many among us, our investigations must go back to a remote antiquity, and our authorities 
be none other than books of heathen literature. Various authors are extant who have pub- 
lished works on the subject. The origin of the games as given by them is this. Timaeus tells 
us that immigrants from Asia, under the leadership of Tyrrhenus, who, in a contest about 
his native kingdom, had succumbed to his brother, settled down in Etruria. Well, among 
other superstitious observances under the name of religion, they set up in their new home 
public shows. The Romans, at their own request, obtain from them skilled performers — the 
proper seasons — the name too, for it is said they are called Ludi, from Lydi. And though 
Varro derives the name of Ludi from Ludus, that is, from play, as they called the Luperci 
also Ludii, because they ran about making sport; still that sporting of young men belongs, 
in his view, to festal days and temples, and objects of religious veneration. However, it is of 
little consequence the origin of the name, when it is certain that the thing springs from id- 
olatry. The Liberalia, under the general designation of Ludi, clearly declared the glory of 
Father Bacchus; for to Bacchus these festivities were first consecrated by grateful peasants, 
in return for the boon he conferred on them, as they say, making known the pleasures of 
wine. Then the Consualia were called Ludi, and at first were in honour of Neptune, for 
Neptune has the name of Consus also. Thereafter Romulus dedicated the Equiria to Mars, 
though they claim the Consualia too for Romulus, on the ground that he consecrated them 
to Consus, the god, as they will have it, of counsel; of the counsel, forsooth, in which he 
planned the rape of the Sabine virgins for wives to his soldiers. An excellent counsel truly; 
and still I suppose reckoned just and righteous by the Romans themselves, I may not say by 
God. This goes also to taint the origin: you cannot surely hold that to be good which has 
sprung from sin, from shamelessness, from violence, from hatred, from a fratricidal founder, 
from a son of Mars. Even now, at the first turning-post in the circus, there is a subterranean 
altar to this same Consus, with an inscription to this effect: “Consus, great in counsel, Mars, 
in battle mighty tutelar deities.” The priests of the state sacrifice at it on the nones of July; 
the priest of Romulus and the Vestals on the twelfth before the Kalends of September. In 
addition to this, Romulus instituted games in honor of Jupiter Feretrius on the Tarpeian 
Hill, according to the statement Piso has handed down to us, called both Tarpeian and 
Capitoline. After him Numa Pompilius instituted games to Mars and Robigo (for they have 
also invented a goddess of rust); then Tullus Hostilius; then Ancus Martius; and various 
others in succession did the like. As to the idols in whose honour these games were estab- 
lished, ample information is to be found in the pages of Suetonius Tranquillus. But we need 
say no more to prove the accusation of idolatrous origin. 


163 



Chapter VI. 


Chapter VI. 

To the testimony of antiquity is added that of later games instituted in their turn, and 
betraying their origin from the titles which they bear even at the present day, in which it is 
imprinted as on their very face, for what idol and for what religious object games, whether 
of the one kind or the other, were designed. You have festivals bearing the name of the great 

irr 

Mother and Apollo of Ceres too, and Neptune, and Jupiter Latiaris, and Flora, all celebrated 
for a common end; the others have their religious origin in the birthdays and solemnities 
of kings, in public successes in municipal holidays. There are also testamentary exhibitions, 
in which funeral honours are rendered to the memories of private persons; and this according 
to an institution of ancient times. For from the first the “Ludi” were regarded as of two sons, 
sacred and funereal, that is in honour of the heathen deities and of the dead. But in the 
matter of idolatry, it makes no difference with us under what name or title it is practised, 
while it has to do with the wicked spirits whom we abjure. If it is lawful to offer homage to 
the dead, it will be just as lawful to offer it to their gods: you have the same origin in both 
cases; there is the same idolatry; there is on our part the same solemn renunciation of all 
idolatry. 


355 [Cybele.] 


164 



Chapter VII. 


Chapter VII. 

The two kinds of public games, then, have one origin; and they have common names, 
as owning the same parentage. So, too, as they are equally tainted with the sin of idolatry, 
their foundress, they must needs be like each other in their pomp. But the more ambitious 
preliminary display of the circus games to which the name procession specially belongs, is 
in itself the proof to whom the whole thing appertains, in the many images the long line of 
statues, the chariots of all sorts, the thrones, the crowns, the dresses. What high religious 
rites besides, what sacrifices precede, come between, and follow. How many guilds, how 
many priesthoods, how many offices are set astir, is known to the inhabitants of the great 
city in which the demon convention has its headquarters. If these things are done in humbler 
style in the provinces, in accordance with their inferior means, still all circus games must 
be counted as belonging to that from which they are derived; the fountain from which they 
spring defiles them. The tiny streamlet from its very spring-head, the little twig from its very 
budding, contains in it the essential nature of its origin. It maybe grand or mean, no matter, 
any circus procession whatever is offensive to God. Though there be few images to grace 
it, there is idolatry in one; though there be no more than a single sacred car, it is a chariot 
of Jupiter: anything of idolatry whatever, whether meanly arrayed or modestly rich and 
gorgeous, taints it in its origin. 


165 



Chapter VIII. 


Chapter VIII. 

To follow out my plan in regard to places: the circus is chiefly consecrated to the Sun, 
whose temple stands in the middle of it, and whose image shines forth from its temple 
summit; for they have not thought it proper to pay sacred honours underneath a roof to an 
object they have itself in open space. Those who assert that the first spectacle was exhibited 
by Circe, and in honour of the Sun her father, as they will have it, maintain also the name 
of circus was derived from her. Plainly, then, the enchantress did this in the name of the 
parties whose priestess she was — I mean the demons and spirits of evil. What an aggregation 
of idolatries you see, accordingly, in the decoration of the place! Every ornament of the circus 
is a temple by itself. The eggs are regarded as sacred to the Castors, by men who are not 
ashamed to profess faith in their production from the egg of a swan, which was no other 
than Jupiter himself. The Dolphins vomit forth in honour of Neptune. Images of Sessia, so 
called as the goddess of sowing; of Messia, so called as the goddess of reaping; of Tutulina, 
so called as the fruit-protecting deity — load the pillars. In front of these you have three altars 
to these three gods — Great, Mighty, Victorious. They reckon these of Samo-Thrace. The 
huge Obelisk, as Hermeteles affirms, is set up in public to the Sun; its inscription, like its 
origin, belongs to Egyptian superstition. Cheerless were the demon-gathering without their 
Mater Magna; and so she presides there over the Euripus. Consus, as we have mentioned, 
lies hidden under ground at the Murcian Goals. These two sprang from an idol. For they 
will have it that Murcia is the goddess of love; and to her, at that spot, they have consecrated 
a temple. See, Christian, how many impure names have taken possession of the circus! You 
have nothing to do with a sacred place which is tenanted by such multitudes of diabolic 
spirits. And speaking of places, this is the suitable occasion for some remarks in anticipation 
of a point that some will raise. What, then, you say; shall I be in danger of pollution if I go 
to the circus when the games are not being celebrated? There is no law forbidding the mere 
places to us. For not only the places for show-gatherings, but even the temples, may be 
entered without any peril of his religion by the servant of God, if he has only some honest 
reason for it, unconnected with their proper business and official duties. Why, even the 
streets and the market-place, and the baths, and the taverns, and our very dwelling-places, 
are not altogether free from idols. Satan and his angels have filled the whole world. It is not 
by merely being in the world, however, that we lapse from God, but by touching and tainting 
ourselves with the world’s sins. I shall break with my Maker, that is, by going to the Capitol 
or the temple of Serapis to sacrifice or adore, as I shall also do by going as a spectator to the 
circus and the theatre. The places in themselves do not contaminate, but what is done in 
them; from this even the places themselves, we maintain, become defiled. The polluted 
things pollute us. It is on this account that we set before you to whom places of the kind 


166 



Chapter VIII. 


are dedicated, that we may prove the things which are done in them to belong to the idol- 

'IC.fi. 

patrons to whom the very places are sacred. 


356 [Very admirable reflections on this chapter may be found in Kaye, pp. 362-3.] 


167 



Chapter IX. 


Chapter IX. 

Now as to the kind of performances peculiar to the circus exhibitions. In former days 
equestrianism was practised in a simple way on horseback, and certainly its ordinary use 
had nothing sinful in it; but when it was dragged into the games, it passed from the service 
of God into the employment of demons. Accordingly this kind of circus performances is 
regarded as sacred to Castor and Pollux, to whom, Stesichorus tells us, horses were given 
by Mercury. And Neptune, too, is an equestrian deity, by the Greeks called Hippius. In regard 
to the team, they have consecrated the chariot and four to the sun; the chariot and pair to 
the moon. But, as the poet has it, “Erichthonius first dared to yoke four horses to the 
chariot, and to ride upon its wheels with victorious swiftness.” Erichthonius, the son of 
Vulcan and Minerva, fruit of unworthy passion upon earth, is a demon-monster, nay, the 
devil himself, and no mere snake. But if Trochilus the Argive is maker of the first chariot, 
he dedicated that work of his to Juno. If Romulus first exhibited the four-horse chariot at 
Rome, he too, I think, has a place given him among idols, at least if he and Quirinus are the 
same. But as chariots had such inventors, the charioteers were naturally dressed, too, in the 
colours of idolatry; for at first these were only two, namely white and red, — the former sacred 
to the winter with its glistening snows, the latter sacred to the summer with its ruddy sun: 
but afterwards, in the progress of luxury as well as of superstition, red was dedicated by 
some to Mars, and white by others to the Zephyrs, while green was given to Mother Earth, 
or spring, and azure to the sky and sea, or autumn. But as idolatry of every kind is condemned 
by God, that form of it surely shares the condemnation which is offered to the elements of 
nature. 


168 



Chapter X. 


Chapter X. 

Let us pass on now to theatrical exhibitions, which we have already shown have a com- 
mon origin with the circus, and bear like idolatrous designations — even as from the first 
they have borne the name of “Ludi,” and equally minister to idols. They resemble each 
other also in their pomp, having the same procession to the scene of their display from 
temples and altars, and that mournful profusion of incense and blood, with music of pipes 
and trumpets, all under the direction of the soothsayer and the undertaker, those two foul 
masters of funeral rites and sacrifices. So as we went on from the origin of the “Ludi” to the 
circus games, we shall now direct our course thence to those of the theatre, beginning with 
the place of exhibition. At first the theatre was properly a temple of Venus; and, to speak 
briefly, it was owing to this that stage performances were allowed to escape censure, and 
got a footing in the world. For ofttimes the censors, in the interests of morality, put down 
above all the rising theatres, foreseeing, as they did, that there was great danger of their 
leading to a general profligacy; so that already, from this accordance of their own people 
with us, there is a witness to the heathen, and in the anticipatory judgment of human 
knowledge even a confirmation of our views. Accordingly Pompey the Great, less only than 
his theatre, when he had erected that citadel of all impurities, fearing some time or other 
censorian condemnation of his memory, superposed on it a temple of Venus; and summoning 
by public proclamation the people to its consecration, he called it not a theatre, but a temple, 
“under which,” said he, “we have placed tiers of seats for viewing the shows.” So he threw 
a veil over a structure on which condemnation had been often passed, and which is ever to 
be held in reprobation, by pretending that it was a sacred place; and by means of superstition 
he blinded the eyes of a virtuous discipline. But Venus and Bacchus are close allies. These 
two evil spirits are in sworn confederacy with each other, as the patrons of drunkenness and 
lust. So the theatre of Venus is as well the house of Bacchus: for they properly gave the name 
of Liberalia also to other theatrical amusements — which besides being consecrated to Bacchus 
(as were the Dionysia of the Greeks), were instituted by him; and, without doubt, the per- 
formances of the theatre have the common patronage of these two deities. That immodesty 
of gesture and attire which so specially and peculiarly characterizes the stage are consecrated 
to them — the one deity wanton by her sex, the other by his drapery; while its services of 
voice, and song, and lute, and pipe, belong to Apollos, and Muses, and Minervas, and Mer- 
curies. You will hate, O Christian, the things whose authors must be the objects of your utter 
detestation. So we would now make a remark about the arts of the theatre, about the things 
also whose authors in the names we execrate. We know that the names of the dead are 
nothing, as are their images; but we know well enough, too, who, when images are set up, 
under these names carry on their wicked work, and exult in the homage rendered to them, 
and pretend to be divine — none other than spirits accursed, than devils. We see, therefore, 
that the arts also are consecrated to the service of the beings who dwell in the names of their 


169 



Chapter X. 


founders; and that things cannot be held free from the taint of idolatry whose inventors 
have got a place among the gods for their discoveries. Nay, as regards the arts, we ought to 
have gone further back, and barred all further argument by the position that the demons, 
predetermining in their own interests from the first, among other evils of idolatry, the pol- 
lutions of the public shows, with the object of drawing man away from his Lord and binding 
him to their own service, carried out their purpose by bestowing on him the artistic gifts 
which the shows require. For none but themselves would have made provision and prepar- 
ation for the objects they had in view; nor would they have given the arts to the world by 
any but those in whose names, and images, and histories they set up for their own ends the 
artifice of consecration. 


170 



Chapter XI. 


Chapter XI. 

In fulfilment of our plan, let us now go on to consider the combats. Their origin is akin 
to that of the games ( ludi ). Hence they are kept as either sacred or funereal, as they have 
been instituted in honour of the idol-gods of the nations or of the dead. Thus, too, they are 
called Olympian in honour of Jupiter, known at Rome as the Capitoline; Nemean, in honour 
of Hercules; Isthmian, in honour of Neptune; the rest mortuarii, as belonging to the dead. 
What wonder, then, if idolatry pollutes the combat-parade with profane crowns, with sacer- 
dotal chiefs, with attendants belonging to the various colleges, last of all with the blood of 
its sacrifices? To add a completing word about the “place” — in the common place for the 
college of the arts sacred to the Muses, and Apollo, and Minerva, and also for that of the 
arts dedicated to Mars, they with contest and sound of trumpet emulate the circus in the 
arena, which is a real temple — I mean of the god whose festivals it celebrates. The gymnastic 
arts also originated with their Castors, and Herculeses, and Mercuries. 


171 



Chapter XII. 


Chapter XII. 

It remains for us to examine the “spectacle” most noted of all, and in highest favour. It 
is called a dutiful service ( munus ), from its being an office, for it bears the name oi“ojficium” 
as well as “munus.” The ancients thought that in this solemnity they rendered offices to the 
dead; at a later period, with a cruelty more refined, they somewhat modified its character. 
For formerly, in the belief that the souls of the departed were appeased by human blood, 
they were in the habit of buying captives or slaves of wicked disposition, and immolating 
them in their funeral obsequies. Afterwards they thought good to throw the veil of pleasure 

oc'7 

over their iniquity. Those, therefore, whom they had provided for the combat, and then 
trained in arms as best they could, only that they might learn to die, they, on the funeral 
day, killed at the places of sepulture. They alleviated death by murders. Such is the origin 
of the “Munus.” But by degrees their refinement came up to their cruelty; for these human 
wild beasts could not find pleasure exquisite enough, save in the spectacle of men torn to 
pieces by wild beasts. Offerings to propitiate the dead then were regarded as belonging to 
the class of funeral sacrifices; and these are idolatry: for idolatry, in fact, is a sort of homage 
to the departed; the one as well as the other is a service to dead men. Moreover, demons 
have abode in the images of the dead. To refer also to the matter of names, though this sort 
of exhibition has passed from honours of the dead to honours of the living, I mean, to 
quaestorships and magistracies — to priestly offices of different kinds; yet, since idolatry still 
cleaves to the dignity’s name, whatever is done in its name partakes of its impurity. The 
same remark will apply to the procession of the “Munus,” as we look at that in the pomp 
which is connected with these honours themselves; for the purple robes, the fasces, the fillets, 
the crowns, the proclamations too, and edicts, the sacred feasts of the day before, are not 
without the pomp of the devil, without invitation of demons. What need, then, of dwelling 
on the place of horrors, which is too much even for the tongue of the perjurer? For the am- 
phitheatre is consecrated to names more numerous and more dire than is the Capitol 
itself, temple of all demons as it is. There are as many unclean spirits there as it holds men. 
To conclude with a single remark about the arts which have a place in it, we know that its 
two sorts of amusement have for their patrons Mars and Diana. 



357 [The authority of Tertullian, in this matter, is accepted by the critics, as of historic importance.] 

358 [Though this was probably written at Carthage, his reference to the Flavian theatre in this place is plain 
from the immediate comparison with the Capitol.] 

359 [To the infernal deities and first of all to Pluto. See vol. I. note 6, p. 131, this Series.] 


172 



Chapter XIII. 


Chapter XIII. 

We have, I think, faithfully carried out our plan of showing in how many different ways 
the sin of idolatry clings to the shows, in respect of their origins, their titles, their equipments, 
their places of celebration, their arts; and we may hold it as a thing beyond all doubt, that 

Q/rn 

for us who have twice renounced all idols, they are utterly unsuitable. “Not that an idol 

o /r i 

is anything,” as the apostle says, but that the homage they render is to demons, who are 
the real occupants of these consecrated images, whether of dead men or (as they think) of 
gods. On this account, therefore, because they have a common source — for their dead and 
their deities are one — we abstain from both idolatries. Nor do we dislike the temples less 
than the monuments: we have nothing to do with either altar, we adore neither image; we 
do not offer sacrifices to the gods, and we make no funeral oblations to the departed; nay, 
we do not partake of what is offered either in the one case or the other, for we cannot partake 
of God’s feast and the feast of devils. If, then, we keep throat and belly free from such 
defilements, how much more do we withhold our nobler parts, our ears and eyes, from the 
idolatrous and funereal enjoyments, which are not passed through the body, but are digested 
in the very spirit and soul, whose purity, much more than that of our bodily organs, God 
has a right to claim from us. 


360 [Bunsen, Hippol. Vol. III. pp. 20-22.] 

361 1 Cor. viii. 4. 

362 ICor.x. 21. 


173 


Chapter XIV. 


Chapter XIV. 

Having sufficiently established the charge of idolatry, which alone ought to be reason 
enough for our giving up the shows, let us now ex abundant i look at the subject in another 
way, for the sake of those especially who keep themselves comfortable in the thought that 
the abstinence we urge is not in so many words enjoined, as if in the condemnation of the 
lusts of the world there was not involved a sufficient declaration against all these amusements. 
For as there is a lust of money, or rank, or eating, or impure enjoyment, or glory, so there 
is also a lust of pleasure. But the show is just a sort of pleasure. I think, then, that under the 
general designation of lusts, pleasures are included; in like manner, under the general idea 
of pleasures, you have as a specific class the “shows.” But we have spoken already of how it 
is with the places of exhibition, that they are not polluting in themselves, but owing to the 
things that are done in them from which they imbibe impurity, and then spirt it again on 
others. 


174 



Chapter XV. 


Chapter XV. 

Having done enough, then, as we have said, in regard to that principal argument, that 
there is in them all the taint of idolatry — having sufficiently dealt with that, let us now contrast 
the other characteristics of the show with the things of God. God has enjoined us to deal 
calmly, gently, quietly, and peacefully with the Holy Spirit, because these things are alone 
in keeping with the goodness of His nature, with His tenderness and sensitiveness, and not 
to vex Him with rage, ill-nature, anger, or grief. Well, how shall this be made to accord with 
the shows? For the show always leads to spiritual agitation, since where there is pleasure, 
there is keenness of feeling giving pleasure its zest; and where there is keenness of feeling, 
there is rivalry giving in turn its zest to that. Then, too, where you have rivalry, you have 
rage, bitterness, wrath and grief, with all bad things which flow from them — the whole entirely 
out of keeping with the religion of Christ. For even suppose one should enjoy the shows in 
a moderate way, as befits his rank, age or nature, still he is not undisturbed in mind, without 
some unuttered movings of the inner man. No one partakes of pleasures such as these 
without their strong excitements; no one comes under their excitements without their nat- 
ural lapses. These lapses, again, create passionate desire. If there is no desire, there is no 
pleasure, and he is chargeable with trifling who goes where nothing is gotten; in my view, 
even that is foreign to us. Moreover, a man pronounces his own condemnation in the very 
act of taking his place among those with whom, by his disinclination to be like them, he 
confesses he has no sympathy. It is not enough that we do no such things ourselves, unless 
we break all connection also with those who do. “If thou sawest a thief,” says the Scripture, 
“thou consentedst with him.” Would that we did not even inhabit the same world with 
these wicked men! But though that wish cannot be realized, yet even now we are separate 
from them in what is of the world; for the world is God’s, but the worldly is the devil’s. 


363 Ps. xlix. 18. [This chapter bears on modern theatres.] 


175 


Chapter XVI. 


Chapter XVI. 

Since, then, all passionate excitement is forbidden us, we are debarred from every kind 
of spectacle, and especially from the circus, where such excitement presides as in its proper 
element. See the people coming to it already under strong emotion, already tumultuous, 
already passion-blind, already agitated about their bets. The praetor is too slow for them: 
their eyes are ever rolling as though along with the lots in his urn; then they hang all eager 
on the signal; there is the united shout of a common madness. Observe how “out of them- 
selves” they are by their foolish speeches. “He has thrown it!” they exclaim; and they announce 
each one to his neighbour what all have seen. I have clearest evidence of their blindness; 
they do not see what is really thrown. They think it a “signal cloth,” but it is the likeness of 
the devil cast headlong from on high. And the result accordingly is, that they fly into rages, 
and passions, and discords, and all that they who are consecrated to peace ought never to 
indulge in. Then there are curses and reproaches, with no cause of hatred; there are cries of 
applause, with nothing to merit them. What are the partakers in all this — not their own 
masters — to obtain of it for themselves? unless, it may be, that which makes them not their 
own: they are saddened by another’s sorrow, they are gladdened by another’s joy. Whatever 
they desire on the one hand, or detest on the other, is entirely foreign to themselves. So love 
with them is a useless thing, and hatred is unjust. Or is a causeless love perhaps more legit- 
imate than a causeless hatred? God certainly forbids us to hate even with a reason for our 
hating; for He commands us to love our enemies. God forbids us to curse, though there be 
some ground for doing so, in commanding that those who curse us we are to bless. But what 
is more merciless than the circus, where people do not spare even their rulers and fellow- 
citizens? If any of its madnesses are becoming elsewhere in the saints of God, they will be 
seemly in the circus too; but if they are nowhere right, so neither are they there. 


176 



Chapter XVII. 


Chapter XVII. 

Are we not, in like manner, enjoined to put away from us all immodesty? On this 
ground, again, we are excluded from the theatre, which is immodesty’s own peculiar abode, 
where nothing is in repute but what elsewhere is disreputable. So the best path to the highest 
favour of its god is the vileness which the Atellan 364 gesticulates, which the buffoon in wo- 
man’s clothes exhibits, destroying all natural modesty, so that they blush more readily at 
home than at the play, which finally is done from his childhood on the person of the panto- 
mime, that he may become an actor. The very harlots, too, victims of the public lust, are 
brought upon the stage, their misery increased as being there in the presence of their own 
sex, from whom alone they are wont to hide themselves: they are paraded publicly before 
every age and every rank — their abode, their gains, their praises, are set forth, and that even 
in the hearing of those who should not hear such things. I say nothing about other matters, 
which it were good to hide away in their own darkness and their own gloomy caves, lest 
they should stain the light of day. Let the Senate, let all ranks, blush for very shame! Why, 
even these miserable women, who by their own gestures destroy their modesty, dreading 
the light of day, and the people’s gaze, know something of shame at least once a year. But 
if we ought to abominate all that is immodest, on what ground is it right to hear what we 
must not speak? For all licentiousness of speech, nay, every idle word, is condemned by 
God. Why, in the same way, is it right to look on what it is disgraceful to do? How is it that 
the things which defile a man in going out of his mouth, are not regarded as doing so when 
they go in at his eyes and ears — when eyes and ears are the immediate attendants on the 
spirit — and that can never be pure whose servants-in-waiting are impure? You have the 
theatre forbidden, then, in the forbidding of immodesty. If, again, we despise the teaching 
of secular literature as being foolishness in God’s eyes, our duty is plain enough in regard 
to those spectacles, which from this source derive the tragic or comic play. If tragedies and 
comedies are the bloody and wanton, the impious and licentious inventors of crimes and 
lusts, it is not good even that there should be any calling to remembrance the atrocious or 
the vile. What you reject in deed, you are not to bid welcome to in word. 


364 [The ludi Atellani were so called from Atella, in Campania, where a vast amphitheatre delighted the in- 
habitants. Juvenal, Sat. vi. 71. The like disgrace our times.] 


177 



Chapter XVIII. 


Chapter XVIII. 

But if you argue that the racecourse is mentioned in Scripture, I grant it at once. But 
you will not refuse to admit that the things which are done there are not for you to look 
upon: the blows, and kicks, and cuffs, and all the recklessness of hand, and everything like 
that disfiguration of the human countenance, which is nothing less than the disfiguration 
of God’s own image. You will never give your approval to those foolish racing and throwing 
feats, and yet more foolish leapings; you will never find pleasure in injurious or useless ex- 
hibitions of strength; certainly you will not regard with approval those efforts after an arti- 
ficial body which aim at surpassing the Creator’s work; and you will have the very opposite 
of complacency in the athletes Greece, in the inactivity of peace, feeds up. And the wrestler’s 
art is a devil’s thing. The devil wrestled with, and crushed to death, the first human beings. 
Its very attitude has power in it of the serpent kind, firm to hold — tortures to clasp — slippery 
to glide away. You have no need of crowns; why do you strive to get pleasures from crowns? 


178 



Chapter XIX. 


Chapter XIX. 

We shall now see how the Scriptures condemn the amphitheatre. If we can maintain 
that it is right to indulge in the cruel, and the impious, and the fierce, let us go there. If we 
are what we are said to be, let us regale ourselves there with human blood. It is good, no 
doubt, to have the guilty punished. Who but the criminal himself will deny that? And yet 
the innocent can find no pleasure in another’s sufferings: he rather mourns that a brother 
has sinned so heinously as to need a punishment so dreadful. But who is my guarantee that 
it is always the guilty who are adjudged to the wild beasts, or to some other doom, and that 
the guiltless never suffer from the revenge of the judge, or the weakness of the defence, or 
the pressure of the rack? How much better, then, is it for me to remain ignorant of the 
punishment inflicted on the wicked, lest I am obliged to know also of the good coming to 
untimely ends — if I may speak of goodness in the case at all! At any rate, gladiators not 
chargeable with crime are offered in sale for the games, that they may become the victims 
of the public pleasure. Even in the case of those who are judicially condemned to the amphi- 
theatre, what a monstrous thing it is, that, in undergoing their punishment, they, from some 
less serious delinquency, advance to the criminality of manslayers! But I mean these remarks 
for heathen. As to Christians, I shall not insult them by adding another word as to the 
aversion with which they should regard this sort of exhibition; though no one is more able 
than myself to set forth fully the whole subject, unless it be one who is still in the habit of 

o zr r 

going to the shows. I would rather withal be incomplete than set memory a- working. 

ix 

88 


365 [See Kaye, p. 1 1. This expression is thought to confirm the probability of Tertullian’s original Gentilism.] 

179 



Chapter XX. 


Chapter XX. 

How vain, then — nay, how desperate — is the reasoning of persons, who, just because 
they decline to lose a pleasure, hold out that we cannot point to the specific words or the 
very place where this abstinence is mentioned, and where the servants of God are directly 
forbidden to have anything to do with such assemblies! I heard lately a novel defence of 
himself by a certain play- lover. “The sun,” said he, “nay, God Himself, looks down from 
heaven on the show, and no pollution is contracted.” Yes, and the sun, too, pours down his 
rays into the common sewer without being defiled. As for God, would that all crimes were 
hid from His eye, that we might all escape judgment! But He looks on robberies too; He 
looks on falsehoods, adulteries, frauds, idolatries, and these same shows; and precisely on 
that account we will not look on them, lest the All-seeing see us. You are putting on the 
same level, O man, the criminal and the judge; the criminal who is a criminal because he is 
seen, and the Judge who is a Judge because He sees. Are we set, then, on playing the madman 
outside the circus boundaries? Outside the gates of the theatre are we bent on lewdness, 
outside the course on arrogance, and outside the amphitheatre on cruelty, because outside 
the porticoes, the tiers and the curtains, too, God has eyes? Never and nowhere is that free 
from blame which God ever condemns; never and nowhere is it right to do what you may 
not do at all times and in all places. It is the freedom of the truth from change of opinion 
and varying judgments which constitutes its perfection, and gives it its claims to full mastery, 
unchanging reverence, and faithful obedience. That which is really good or really evil cannot 
be ought else. But in all things the truth of God is immutable. 


180 



Chapter XXI. 


Chapter XXI. 

The heathen, who have not a full revelation of the truth, for they are not taught of God, 
hold a thing evil and good as it suits self-will and passion, making that which is good in one 
place evil in another, and that which is evil in one place in another good. So it strangely 
happens, that the same man who can scarcely in public lift up his tunic, even when necessity 
of nature presses him, takes it off in the circus, as if bent on exposing himself before every- 
body; the father who carefully protects and guards his virgin daughter’s ears from every 
polluting word, takes her to the theatre himself, exposing her to all its vile words and attitudes; 
he, again, who in the streets lays hands on or covers with reproaches the brawling pugilist, 
in the arena gives all encouragement to combats of a much more serious kind; and he who 
looks with horror on the corpse of one who has died under the common law of nature, in 
the amphitheatre gazes down with most patient eyes on bodies all mangled and torn and 
smeared with their own blood; nay, the very man who comes to the show, because he thinks 
murderers ought to suffer for their crime, drives the unwilling gladiator to the murderous 
deed with rods and scourges; and one who demands the lion for every manslayer of deeper 
dye, will have the staff for the savage swordsman, and rewards him with the cap of liberty. 
Yes and he must have the poor victim back again, that he may get a sight of his face — with 
zest inspecting near at hand the man whom he wished torn in pieces at safe distance from 
him: so much the more cruel he if that was not his wish. 


181 



Chapter XXII. 


Chapter XXII. 

What wonder is there in it? Such inconsistencies as these are just such as we might expect 
from men, who confuse and change the nature of good and evil in their inconstancy of 
feeling and fickleness in judgment. Why, the authors and managers of the spectacles, in that 
very respect with reference to which they highly laud the charioteers, and actors, and 
wrestlers, and those most loving gladiators, to whom men prostitute their souls, women too 
their bodies, slight and trample on them, though for their sakes they are guilty of the deeds 
they reprobate; nay, they doom them to ignominy and the loss of their rights as citizens, 
excluding them from the Curia, and the rostra, from senatorial and equestrian rank, and 
from all other honours as well as certain distinctions. What perversity! They have pleasure 
in those whom yet they punish; they put all slights on those to whom, at the same time, they 
award their approbation; they magnify the art and brand the artist. What an outrageous 
thing it is, to blacken a man on account of the very things which make him meritorious in 
their eyes! Nay, what a confession that the things are evil, when their authors, even in highest 
favour, are not without a mark of disgrace upon them! 


182 



Chapter XXIII. 


Chapter XXIII. 

Seeing, then, man’s own reflections, even in spite of the sweetness of pleasure, lead him 
to think that people such as these should be condemned to a hapless lot of infamy, losing 
all the advantages connected with the possession of the dignities of life, how much more 
does the divine righteousness inflict punishment on those who give themselves to these arts! 
Will God have any pleasure in the charioteer who disquiets so many souls, rouses up so 
many furious passions, and creates so many various moods, either crowned like a priest or 
wearing the colours of a pimp, decked out by the devil that he may be whirled away in his 
chariot, as though with the object of taking off Elijah? Will He be pleased with him who 
applies the razor to himself, and completely changes his features; who, with no respect for 
his face, is not content with making it as like as possible to Saturn and Isis and Bacchus, but 
gives it quietly over to contumelious blows, as if in mockery of our Lord? The devil, forsooth, 
makes it part, too, of his teaching, that the cheek is to be meekly offered to the smiter. In 
the same way, with their high shoes, he has made the tragic actors taller, because “none can 

'If.f. 

add a cubit to his stature.” His desire is to make Christ a liar. And in regard to the wearing 
of masks, I ask is that according to the mind of God, who forbids the making of every likeness, 
and especially then the likeness of man who is His own image? The Author of truth hates 
all the false; He regards as adultery all that is unreal. Condemning, therefore, as He does 
hypocrisy in every form, He never will approve any putting on of voice, or sex, or age; He 
never will approve pretended loves, and wraths, and groans, and tears. Then, too, as in His 

'iff] 

law it is declared that the man is cursed who attires himself in female garments, what 
must be His judgment of the pantomime, who is even brought up to play the woman! And 
will the boxer go unpunished? I suppose he received these caestus-scars, and the thick skin 
of his fists, and these growths upon his ears, at his creation! God, too, gave him eyes for no 
other end than that they might be knocked out in fighting! I say nothing of him who, to 
save himself, thrusts another in the lion’s way, that he may not be too little of a murderer 
when he puts to death that very same man on the arena. 


366 Matt. vi. 27. 


367 Deut. xxii. 


183 


Chapter XXIV. 


Chapter XXIV. 

In how many other ways shall we yet further show that nothing which is peculiar to the 
shows has God’s approval, or without that approval is becoming in God’s servants? If we 
have succeeded in making it plain that they were instituted entirely for the devil’s sake, and 
have been got up entirely with the devil’s things (for all that is not God’s, or is not pleasing 
in His eyes, belongs to His wicked rival), this simply means that in them you have that pomp 
of the devil which in the “seal” of our faith we abjure. We should have no connection with 
the things which we abjure, whether in deed or word, whether by looking on them or looking 
forward to them; but do we not abjure and rescind that baptismal pledge, when we cease to 
bear its testimony? Does it then remain for us to apply to the heathen themselves. Let them 
tell us, then, whether it is right in Christians to frequent the show. Why, the rejection of 
these amusements is the chief sign to them that a man has adopted the Christian faith. If 
any one, then, puts away the faith’s distinctive badge, he is plainly guilty of denying it. What 
hope can you possibly retain in regard to a man who does that? When you go over to the 
enemy’s camp, you throw down your arms, desert the standards and the oath of allegiance 
to your chief: you cast in your lot for life or death with your new friends. 


184 



Chapter XXV. 


Chapter XXV. 

Seated where there is nothing of God, will one be thinking of his Maker? Will there be 
peace in his soul when there is eager strife there for a charioteer? Wrought up into a frenzied 
excitement, will he learn to be modest? Nay, in the whole thing he will meet with no greater 
temptation than that gay attiring of the men and women. The very intermingling of emotions, 
the very agreements and disagreements with each other in the bestowment of their favours, 
where you have such close communion, blow up the sparks of passion. And then there is 
scarce any other object in going to the show, but to see and to be seen. When a tragic actor 
is declaiming, will one be giving thought to prophetic appeals? Amid the measures of the 
effeminate player, will he call up to himself a psalm? And when the athletes are hard at 
struggle, will he be ready to proclaim that there must be no striking again? And with his eye 
fixed on the bites of bears, and the sponge-nets of the net-fighters, can he be moved by 
compassion? May God avert from His people any such passionate eagerness after a cruel 
enjoyment! For how monstrous it is to go from God’s church to the devil’s — from the sky 

O /TO 

to the stye, as they say; to raise your hands to God, and then to weary them in the applause 
of an actor; out of the mouth, from which you uttered Amen over the Holy Thing, to give 
witness in a gladiator’s favour; to cry “forever” to any one else but God and Christ! 


368 [De Cask) in Cfenum: (sic) Oehler.] 


185 



Chapter XXVI. 


Chapter XXVI. 

Why may not those who go into the temptations of the show become accessible also to 
evil spirits? We have the case of the woman — the Lord Himself is witness — who went to the 
theatre, and came back possessed. In the outcasting, accordingly, when the unclean 
creature was upbraided with having dared to attack a believer, he firmly replied, “And 
in truth I did it most righteously, for I found her in my domain.” Another case, too, is well 
known, in which a woman had been hearing a tragedian, and on the very night she saw in 
her sleep a linen cloth — the actor’s name being mentioned at the same time with strong 
disapproval — and five days after that woman was no more. How many other undoubted 
proofs we have had in the case of persons who, by keeping company with the devil in the 

on l 

shows, have fallen from the Lord! For no one can serve two masters. What fellowship 

ono 

has light with darkness, life with death? 


369 [The exorcism. For the exorcism in Baptism, see Bunsen, Hippol. iii. 19.] 

370 See Neander’s explanation in Kaye, p. xxiii. But, let us observe the entire simplicity with which our author 
narrates a sort of incident known to the apostles. Acts xvi. 16.] 

371 Matt. vi. 24. 

372 2 Cor. iv. 14. 


186 


Chapter XXVII. 


Chapter XXVII. 

We ought to detest these heathen meetings and assemblies, if on no other account than 
that there God’s name is blasphemed — that there the cry “To the lions!” is daily raised against 
us — that from thence persecuting decrees are wont to emanate, and temptations are sent 
forth. What will you do if you are caught in that heaving tide of impious judgments? Not 
that there any harm is likely to come to you from men: nobody knows that you are a 
Christian; but think how it fares with you in heaven. For at the very time the devil is working 
havoc in the church, do you doubt that the angels are looking down from above, and 
marking every man, who speaks and who listens to the blaspheming word, who lends his 
tongue and who lends his ears to the service of Satan against God? Shall you not then shun 
those tiers where the enemies of Christ assemble, that seat of all that is pestilential, and the 
very super incumbent atmosphere all impure with wicked cries? Grant that you have there 
things that are pleasant, things both agreeable and innocent in themselves; even some things 
that are excellent. Nobody dilutes poison with gall and hellebore: the accursed thing is put 
into condiments well seasoned and of sweetest taste. So, too, the devil puts into the deadly 
draught which he prepares, things of God most pleasant and most acceptable. Everything 
there, then, that is either brave, noble, loud-sounding, melodious, or exquisite in taste, hold 
it but as the honey drop of a poisoned cake; nor make so much of your taste for its pleasures, 
as of the danger you run from its attractions. 


373 [Observe — “daily raised.” On this precarious condition of the Christians, in their daily life, see the calm 

statement of Kaye, pp. 110, 111. 


187 



Chapter XXVIII. 


Chapter XXVIII. 

With such dainties as these let the devil’s guests be feasted. The places and the times, 
the inviter too, are theirs. Our banquets, our nuptial joys, are yet to come. We cannot sit 
down in fellowship with them, as neither can they with us. Things in this matter go by their 
turns. Now they have gladness and we are troubled. “The world,” says Jesus, “shall rejoice; 

'in A 

ye shall be sorrowful.” Let us mourn, then, while the heathen are merry, that in the day 
of their sorrow we may rejoice; lest, sharing now in their gladness, we share then also in 
their grief. Thou art too dainty, Christian, if thou wouldst have pleasure in this life as well 
as in the next; nay, a fool thou art, if thou thinkest this life’s pleasures to be really pleasures. 
The philosophers, for instance, give the name of pleasure to quietness and repose; in that 
they have their bliss; in that they find entertainment: they even glory in it. You long for the 
goal, and the stage, and the dust, and the place of combat! I would have you answer me this 
question: Can we not live without pleasure, who cannot but with pleasure die? For what is 
our wish but the apostle’s, to leave the world, and be taken up into the fellowship of our 

0-7C 

Lord? You have your joys where you have your longings. 


374 John xvi. 20. 

375 Phil. i. 23. 


188 


Chapter XXIX. 


Chapter XXIX. 

Even as things are, if your thought is to spend this period of existence in enjoyments, 
how are you so ungrateful as to reckon insufficient, as not thankfully to recognize the many 
and exquisite pleasures God has bestowed upon you? For what more delightful than to have 
God the Father and our Ford at peace with us, than revelation of the truth than confession 
of our errors, than pardon of the innumerable sins of our past life? What greater pleasure 
than distaste of pleasure itself, contempt of all that the world can give, true liberty, a pure 
conscience, a contented life, and freedom from all fear of death? What nobler than to tread 
under foot the gods of the nations — to exorcise evil spirits — to perform cures — to seek 
divine revealings — to live to God? These are the pleasures, these the spectacles that befit 
Christian men — holy, everlasting, free. Count of these as your circus games, fix your eyes 
on the courses of the world, the gliding seasons, reckon up the periods of time, long for the 
goal of the final consummation, defend the societies of the churches, be startled at God’s 
signal, be roused up at the angel’s trump, glory in the palms of martyrdom. If the literature 
of the stage delight you, we have literature in abundance of our own — plenty of verses, 
sentences, songs, proverbs; and these not fabulous, but true; not tricks of art, but plain 
realities. Would you have also fightings and wrestlings? Well, of these there is no lacking, 
and they are not of slight account. Behold unchastity overcome by chastity, perfidy slain by 
faithfulness, cruelty stricken by compassion, impudence thrown into the shade by modesty: 
these are the contests we have among us, and in these we win our crowns. Would you have 
something of blood too? You have Christ’s. 


376 [See cap. 26, supra. On this claim to such powers still remaining in the church. See Kaye, p. 89.] 


189 



Chapter XXX. 


Chapter XXX. 

077 

But what a spectacle is that fast- approaching advent' of our Lord, now owned by all, 

now highly exalted, now a triumphant One! What that exultation of the angelic hosts! What 
the glory of the rising saints! What the kingdom of the just thereafter! What the city New 
Jerusalem! Yes, and there are other sights: that last day of judgment, with its everlasting 
issues; that day unlooked for by the nations, the theme of their derision, when the world 
hoary with age, and all its many products, shall be consumed in one great flame! How vast 
a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? what my derision? 
Which sight gives me joy? which rouses me to exultation? — as I see so many illustrious 
monarchs, whose reception into the heavens was publicly announced, groaning now in the 
lowest darkness with great Jove himself, and those, too, who bore witness of their exultation; 
governors of provinces, too, who persecuted the Christian name, in fires more fierce than 
those with which in the days of their pride they raged against the followers of Christ. What 
world’s wise men besides, the very philosophers, in fact, who taught their followers that 
God had no concern in ought that is sublunary, and were wont to assure them that either 
they had no souls, or that they would never return to the bodies which at death they had 
left, now covered with shame before the poor deluded ones, as one fire consumes them! 
Poets also, trembling not before the judgment-seat of Rhadamanthus or Minos, but of the 
unexpected Christ! I shall have a better opportunity then of hearing the tragedians, louder- 
voiced in their own calamity; of viewing the play-actors, much more “dissolute” in the dis- 
solving flame; of looking upon the charioteer, all glowing in his chariot of fire; of beholding 
the wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows; unless even then I shall 
not care to attend to such ministers of sin, in my eager wish rather to fix a gaze insatiable 
on those whose fury vented itself against the Lord. “This,” I shall say, “this is that carpenter’s 
or hireling’s son, that Sabbath-breaker, that Samaritan and devil-possessed! This is He whom 
you purchased from Judas! This is He whom you struck with reed and fist, whom you con- 
temptuously spat upon, to whom you gave gall and vinegar to drink! This is He whom His 
disciples secretly stole away, that it might be said He had risen again, or the gardener abstrac- 
ted, that his lettuces might come to no harm from the crowds of visitants!” What quaestor 
or priest in his munificence will bestow on you the favour of seeing and exulting in such 
things as these? And yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of 
imagination. But what are the things which eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and which 


377 [Kaye, p. 20. He doubtless looked for a speedy appearance of the Lord: and note the apparent expectation 
of a New Jerusalem, on earth, before the Consummation and Judgment.] 

378 [This New Jerusalem gives Bp. Kaye (p. 55) “decisive proof’ of Montanism, especially as compared with 
the Third Book against Marcion. I cannot see it, here.] 


190 



Chapter XXX. 


have not so much as dimly dawned upon the human heart? Whatever they are, they are 

onq 

nobler, I believe, than circus, and both theatres, and every race-course. 


379 Viz., the theatre and amphitheatre. [This concluding chapter, which Gibbon delights to censure, because 
its fervid rhetoric so fearfully depicts the punishments of Christ’s enemies, “appears to Dr. Neander to contain 
a beautiful specimen of lively faith and Christian confidence.” See Kaye, p. xxix.] 


191 



The Chaplet, or De Corona. 


IV. 

The Chaplet, or De Corona . 380 


Chapter I. 

O O 1 

Very lately it happened thus: while the bounty of our most excellent emperors was 
dispensed in the camp, the soldiers, laurel-crowned, were approaching. One of them, more 
a soldier of God, more stedfast than the rest of his brethren, who had imagined that they 
could serve two masters, his head alone uncovered, the useless crown in his hand — already 
even by that peculiarity known to every one as a Christian — was nobly conspicuous. Accord- 
ingly, all began to mark him out, jeering him at a distance, gnashing on him near at hand. 
The murmur is wafted to the tribune, when the person had just left the ranks. The tribune 
at once puts the question to him, Why are you so different in your attire? He declared that 
he had no liberty to wear the crown with the rest. Being urgently asked for his reasons, he 
answered, I am a Christian. O soldier! boasting thyself in God. Then the case was considered 
and voted on; the matter was remitted to a higher tribunal; the offender was conducted to 
the prefects. At once he put away the heavy cloak, his disburdening commenced; he loosed 
from his foot the military shoe, beginning to stand upon holy ground; he gave up the 
sword, which was not necessary either for the protection of our Lord; from his hand likewise 
dropped the laurel crown; and now, purple- clad with the hope of his own blood, shod with 
the preparation of the gospel, girt with the sharper word of God, completely equipped in 
the apostles’ armour, and crowned more worthily with the white crown of martyrdom, he 
awaits in prison the largess of Christ. Thereafter adverse judgments began to be passed upon 
his conduct — whether on the part of Christians I do not know, for those of the heathen are 
not different — as if he were headstrong and rash, and too eager to die, because, in being 
taken to task about a mere matter of dress, he brought trouble on the bearers of the 

o q o 

Name, — he, forsooth, alone brave among so many soldier-brethren, he alone a Christian. 


380 [Kaye, apparently accepting the judgment of Dr. Neander, assigns this treatise to a.d. 204. The bounty 
here spoken of, then, must be that dispensed in honour of the victories over the Parthians, under Severus.] 

381 “Emperors.” The Emperor Severus associated his two sons with him in the possession of the imperial 
power; Caracalla in the year 198, Geta in 208. — Tr. 

382 [A touch of our author’s genius, inspired by the Phrygian enthusiasm for martyrdom. The ground on 
which a martyr treads begins to be holy, even before the sacrifice, and in loosing his shoe the victim consecrates 
the spot and at the same time pays it homage.] 

383 [The name of Christ: and the Antiochian name of Christians.] 


192 



Chapter I. 


O Q A 

It is plain that as they have rejected the prophecies of the Holy Spirit,' they are also pur- 
posing the refusal of martyrdom. So they murmur that a peace so good and long is en- 
dangered for them. Nor do I doubt that some are already turning their back on the Scriptures, 
are making ready their luggage, are equipped for flight from city to city; for that is all of the 
gospel they care to remember. I know, too, their pastors are lions in peace, deer in the fight. 
As to the questions asked for extorting confessions from us, we shall teach elsewhere. Now, 
as they put forth also the objection — But where are we forbidden to be crowned? — I shall 
take this point up, as more suitable to be treated of here, being the essence, in fact, of the 
present contention. So that, on the one hand, the inquirers who are ignorant, but anxious, 
maybe instructed; and on the other, those maybe refuted who try to vindicate the sin, espe- 
cially the laurel-crowned Christians themselves, to whom it is merely a question of debate, 
as if it might be regarded as either no trespass at all, or at least a doubtful one, because it 
maybe made the subject of investigation. That it is neither sinless nor doubtful, I shall now, 
however, show. 


384 [Gibbon will have it that the De Corona was written while Tertullian was orthodox, but this reference to 
the Montanist notion of “New Prophecy” seems to justify the decision of critics against Gibbon, who, as Kaye 
suggests (p. 53) was anxious to make Christianity itself responsible for military insubordination and for offences 
against Imperial Law.] 


193 



Chapter II. 


Chapter II. 

I affirm that not one of the Faithful has ever a crown upon his head, except at a time 

o o r 

trial. That is the case with all, from catechumens to confessors and martyrs, or (as the 
case maybe) deniers. Consider, then, whence the custom about which we are now chiefly 
inquiring got its authority. But when the question is raised why it is observed, it is meanwhile 
evident that it is observed. Therefore that can neither be regarded as no offence, or an un- 
certain one, which is perpetrated against a practice which is capable of defence, on the 
ground even of its repute, and is sufficiently ratified by the support of general acceptance. 
It is undoubted, so that we ought to inquire into the reason of the thing; but without prejudice 
to the practice, not for the purpose of overthrowing it, but rather of building it up, that you 
may all the more carefully observe it, when you are also satisfied as to its reason. But what 
sort of procedure is it, for one to be bringing into debate a practice, when he has fallen from 
it, and to be seeking the explanation of his having ever had it, when he has left it off? Since, 
although he may wish to seem on this account desirous to investigate it, that he may show 
that he has not done wrong in giving it up, it is evident that he nevertheless transgressed 
previously in its presumptuous observance. If he has done no wrong to-day in accepting 
the crown he offended before in refusing it. This treatise, therefore, will not be for those 
who not in a proper condition for inquiry, but for those who, with the real desire of getting 
instruction, bring forward, not a question for debate, but a request for advice. For it is from 
this desire that a true inquiry always proceeds; and I praise the faith which has believed in 
the duty of complying with the rule, before it has learned the reason of it. An easy thing it 
is at once to demand where it is written that we should not be crowned. But is it written 
that we should be crowned? Indeed, in urgently demanding the warrant of Scripture in a 
different side from their own, men prejudge that the support of Scripture ought no less to 
appear on their part. For if it shall be said that it is lawful to be crowned on this ground, 
that Scripture does not forbid it, it will as validly be retorted that just on this ground is the 
crown unlawful, because the Scripture does not enjoin it. What shall discipline do? Shall it 
accept both things, as if neither were forbidden? Or shall it refuse both, as if neither were 

o ozr 

enjoined? But “the thing which is not forbidden is freely permitted.” I should rather say 
that what has not been freely allowed is forbidden. 


385 [Kaye (p. 231) notes this as a rare instance of classing Catechumens among “the Faithful.”] 

386 [This is said not absolutely but in contrast with extreme license; but it shows the Supremacy of Scripture. 
Compare De Monogam , cap. 4.] 



194 



Chapter III. 


Chapter III. 

And how long shall we draw the saw to and fro through this line, when we have an an- 
cient practice, which by anticipation has made for us the state, i.e., of the question? If no 
passage of Scripture has prescribed it, assuredly custom, which without doubt flowed from 
tradition, has confirmed it. For how can anything come into use, if it has not first been 
handed down? Even in pleading tradition, written authority, you say, must be demanded. 

Let us inquire, therefore, whether tradition, unless it be written, should not be admitted. 

Certainly we shall say that it ought not to be admitted, if no cases of other practices which, 
without any written instrument, we maintain on the ground of tradition alone, and the 
countenance thereafter of custom, affords us any precedent. To deal with this matter briefly, 

I shall begin with baptism. When we are going to enter the water, but a little before, in 
the presence of the congregation and under the hand of the president, we solemnly profess 
that we disown the devil, and his pomp, and his angels. Hereupon we are thrice immersed, 
making a somewhat ampler pledge than the Lord has appointed in the Gospel. Then when 

ooo 

we are taken up (as new-born children), we taste first of all a mixture of milk and honey, 
and from that day we refrain from the daily bath for a whole week. We take also, in congreg- 
ations before daybreak, and from the hand of none but the presidents, the sacrament of the 
Eucharist, which the Lord both commanded to be eaten at meal-times, and enjoined to be 

OOQ 

taken by all alike. As often as the anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the 
dead as birthday honours. We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord’s day to be 
unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege also from Easter to Whitsunday. We feel pained 
should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground. At every forward 
step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when 
we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary 
actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign . 390 

95 


387 [Elucidation I., and see Bunsen’s Church and House Book , pp. 19-24.] 

388 [There is here an allusion to the Roman form of recognizing a lawful child. The father, taking up the new- 
born infant, gave him adoption into the family, and recognised him as a legitimate son and heir.] 

389 [Men and women, rich and poor.] 

390 i.e., of the Cross. 


195 



Chapter TV. 


Chapter IV. 

If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, 
you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as 
their strengthened and faith as their observer. That reason will support tradition, and custom, 
and faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has. Meanwhile 
you will believe that there is some reason to which submission is due. I add still one case 
more, as it will be proper to show you how it was among the ancients also. Among the lews, 
so usual is it for their women to have the head veiled, that they may thereby be recognised. 
I ask in this instance for the law. I put the apostle aside. If Rebecca at once drew down her 
veil, when in the distance she saw her betrothed, this modesty of a mere private individual 
could not have made a law, or it will have made it only for those who have the reason which 
she had. Let virgins alone be veiled, and this when they are coming to be married, and not 
till they have recognised their destined husband. If Susanna also, who was subjected to un- 
veiling on her trial, furnishes an argument for the veiling of women, I can say here also, 
the veil was a voluntary thing. She had come accused, ashamed of the disgrace she had 
brought on herself, properly concealing her beauty, even because now she feared to please. 
But I should not suppose that, when it was her aim to please, she took walks with a veil on 
in her husband’s avenue. Grant, now, that she was always veiled. In this particular case, too, 
or, in fact, in that of any other, I demand the dress-law. If I nowhere find a law, it follows 
that tradition has given the fashion in question to custom, to find subsequently (its author- 
ization in) the apostle’s sanction, from the true interpretation of reason. This instances, 
therefore, will make it sufficiently plain that you can vindicate the keeping of even unwritten 
tradition established by custom; the proper witness for tradition when demonstrated by 
long-continued observance. But even in civil matters custom is accepted as law, when 
positive legal enactment is wanting; and it is the same thing whether it depends on writing 
or on reason, since reason is, in fact, the basis of law. But, (you say), if reason is the ground 
of law, all will now henceforth have to be counted law, whoever brings it forward, which 
shall have reason as its ground. Or do you think that every believer is entitled to originate 
and establish a law, if only it be such as is agreeable to God, as is helpful to discipline, as 
promotes salvation, when the Lord says, “But why do you not even of your own selves judge 
what is right ?” 394 And not merely in regard to a judicial sentence, but in regard to every 


391 Vulgate, Dan. xiii. 32. [See Apocrypha, Hist, of Susanna, v. 32.] 

392 [Observe it must (1.) be based on Apostolic grounds; (2.) must not be a novelty, but derived from a time 
“to which the memory of men runneth not contrary.”] 

393 [I slightly amend the translation to bring out the force of an objection to which our author gives a 
Montanistic reply.] 

394 Luke xii. 27. 


196 


Chapter IV. 


decision in matters we are called on to consider, the apostle also says, “If of anything you 

oqr 

are ignorant, God shall reveal it unto you;” he himself, too, being accustomed to afford 
counsel though he had not the command of the Lord, and to dictate of himself as possess- 

ing the Spirit of God who guides into all truth. Therefore his advice has, by the warrant of 
divine reason, become equivalent to nothing less than a divine command. Earnestly now 
inquire of this teacher , 397 keeping intact your regard for tradition, from whomsoever it 
originally sprang; nor have regard to the author, but to the authority, and especially that of 
custom itself, which on this very account we should revere, that we may not want an inter- 
preter; so that if reason too is God’s gift, you may then learn, not whether custom has to be 
followed by you, but why. 


395 Phil. iii. 15. 

396 [See luminous remarks in Kaye, pp. 371-373.] 

397 [This teacher, i.e., right reason, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. He is here foisting in a plea for 
the “New Prophecy,” apparently, and this is one of the most decided instances in the treatise.] 


197 


Chapter V. 


Chapter V. 

The argument for Christian practices becomes all the stronger, when also nature, which 
is the first rule of all, supports them. Well, she is the first who lays it down that a crown does 
not become the head. But I think ours is the God of nature, who fashioned man; and, that 
he might desire, (appreciate, become partaker of) the pleasures afforded by His creatures, 
endowed him with certain senses, (acting) through members, which, so to speak, are their 
peculiar instruments. The sense of hearing he has planted in the ears; that of sight, lighted 
up in the eyes; that of taste, shut up in the mouth; that of smell, wafted into the nose; that 
of touch, fixed in the tips of the fingers. By means of these organs of the outer man doing 
duty to the inner man, the enjoyments of the divine gifts are conveyed by the senses to the 

OQO 

soul. What, then, in flowers affords you enjoyment? For it is the flowers of the field which 
are the peculiar, at least the chief, material of crowns. Either smell, you say, or colour, or 
both together. What will be the senses of colour and smell? Those of seeing and smelling, I 
suppose. What members have had these senses allotted to them? The eyes and the nose, if 
I am not mistaken. With sight and smell, then, make use of flowers, for these are the senses 
by which they are meant to be enjoyed; use them by means of the eyes and nose, which are 
the members to which these senses belong. You have got the thing from God, the mode of 
it from the world; but an extraordinary mode does not prevent the use of the thing in the 
common way. Let flowers, then, both when fastened into each other and tied together in 
thread and rush, be what they are when free, when loose — things to be looked at and smelt. 
You count it a crown, let us say, when you have a bunch of them bound together in a series, 
that you may carry many at one time that you may enjoy them all at once. Well, lay them 
in your bosom if they are so singularly pure, and strew them on your couch if they are so 
exquisitely soft, and consign them to your cup if they are so perfectly harmless. Have the 
pleasure of them in as many ways as they appeal to your senses. But what taste for a flower, 
what sense for anything belonging to a crown but its band, have you in the head, which is 
able neither to distinguish colour, nor to inhale sweet perfumes, nor to appreciate softness? 
It is as much against nature to long after a flower with the head, as it is to crave food with 
the ear, or sound with the nostril. But everything which is against nature deserves to be 
branded as monstrous among all men; but with us it is to be condemned also as sacrilege 
against God, the Lord and Creator of nature. 


398 Kaye [p. 187,] has some valuable remarks on this testimony to the senses in Christian Philosophy, and 
compares Cicero, I. Tusc. cap. xx. or xlvi.] 


198 



Chapter VI. 


Chapter VI. 

Demanding then a law of God, you have that common one prevailing all over the world, 
engraven on the natural tables to which the apostle too is wont to appeal, as when in respect 
of the woman’s veil he says, “Does not even Nature teach you?” 399 — as when to the Romans, 
affirming that the heathen do by nature those things which the law requires , 400 he suggests 
both natural law and a law-revealing nature. Yes, and also in the first chapter of the epistle 
he authenticates nature, when he asserts that males and females changed among themselves 
the natural use of the creature into that which is unnatural , 401 by way of penal retribution 
for their error. We first of all indeed know God Himself by the teaching of Nature, calling 
Him God of gods, taking for granted that He is good, and invoking Him as Judge. Is it a 
question with you whether for the enjoyment of His creatures, Nature should be our guide, 
that we may not be carried away in the direction in which the rival of God has corrupted, 
along with man himself, the entire creation which had been made over to our race for certain 
uses, whence the apostle says that it too unwillingly became subject to vanity, completely 
bereft of its original character, first by vain, then by base, unrighteous, and ungodly uses? 
It is thus, accordingly, in the pleasures of the shows, that the creature is dishonoured by 
those who by nature indeed perceive that all the materials of which shows are got up belong 
to God, but lack the knowledge to perceive as well that they have all been changed by the 
devil. But with this topic we have, for the sake of our own play-lovers, sufficiently dealt, and 
that, too, in a work in Greek 402 


399 1 Cor. xi. 14. 

400 Rom. ii. 14. 

401 Rom. i. 26. 

[Plays were regarded as pomps renounced in Baptism.] 


402 


199 


Chapter VII. 


Chapter VII. 

Let these dealers in crowns then recognize in the meantime the authority of Nature, on 
the ground of a common sense as human beings, and the certifications of their peculiar re- 
ligion, as, according to the last chapter, worshippers of the God of nature; and, as it were, 
thus over and above what is required, let them consider those other reasons too which forbid 
us wearing crowns, especially on the head, and indeed crowns of every sort. For we are obliged 
to turn from the rule of Nature, which we share with mankind in general, that we may 
maintain the whole peculiarity of our Christian discipline, in relation also to other kinds of 
crowns which seem to have been provided for different uses, as being composed of different 
substances, lest, because they do not consist of flowers, the use of which nature has indicated 
(as it does in the case of this military laurel one itself), they may be thought not to come 
under the prohibition of our sect, since they have escaped any objections of nature. I see, 
then, that we must go into the matter both with more research, and more fully, from its 
beginnings on through its successive stages of growth to its more erratic developments. For 
this we need to turn to heathen literature, for things belonging to the heathen must be proved 
from their own documents. The little of this I have acquired, will, I believe, be enough. If 
there really was a Pandora, whom Hesiod mentions as the first of women, hers was the first 
head the graces crowned, for she received gifts from all the gods whence she got her name 
Pandora. But Moses, a prophet, not a poet-shepherd, shows us the first woman Eve having 
her loins more naturally girt about with leaves than her temples with flowers. Pandora, 
then, is a myth. And so we have to blush for the origin of the crown, even on the ground of 
the falsehood connected with it; and, as will soon appear, on the ground no less of its realities. 
For it is an undoubted fact that certain persons either originated the thing, or shed lustre 
on it. Pherecydes relates that Saturn was the first who wore a crown; Diodorus, that Jupiter, 
after conquering the Titans, was honoured with this gift by the rest of the gods. To Priapus 
also the same author assigns fillets; and to Ariadne a garland of gold and of Indian gems, 
the gift of Vulcan, afterwards of Bacchus, and subsequently turned into a constellation. 
Callimachus has put a vine crown upon Juno. So too at Argos, her statue, vine-wreathed, 
with a lion’s skin placed beneath her feet, exhibits the stepmother exulting over the spoils 
of her two step-sons. Hercules displays upon his head sometimes poplar, sometimes wild- 
olive, sometimes parsley. You have the tragedy of Cerberus; you have Pindar; and besides 
Callimachus, who mentions that Apollo, too when he had killed the Delphic serpent, as a 
suppliant, put on a laurel garland; for among the ancients suppliants were wont to be 
crowned. Harpocration argues that Bacchus the same as Osiris among the Egyptians, was 
designedly crowned with ivy, because it is the nature of ivy to protect the brain against 
drowsiness. But that in another way also Bacchus was the originator of the laurel crown (the 
crown) in which he celebrated his triumph over the Indians, even the rabble acknowledge, 
when they call the days dedicated to him the “great crown.” If you open, again, the writings 


200 



Chapter VII. 


of the Egyptian Leo, you learn that Isis was the first who discovered and wore ears of corn 
upon her head — a thing more suited to the belly. Those who want additional information 
will find an ample exposition of the subject in Claudius Saturninus, a writer of distinguished 
talent who treats this question also, for he has a book on crowns, so explaining their begin- 
nings as well as causes, and kinds, and rites, that you find all that is charming in the flower, 
all that is beautiful in the leafy branch, and every sod or vine-shoot has been dedicated to 
some head or other; making it abundantly clear how foreign to us we should judge the custom 
of the crowned head, introduced as it was by, and thereafter constantly managed for the 
honour of, those whom the world has believed to be gods. If the devil, a liar from the begin- 
ning, is even in this matter working for his false system of godhead (idolatry), he had himself 
also without doubt provided for his god-lie being carried out. What sort of thing, then, must 
that be counted among the people of the true God, which was brought in by the nations in 
honour of the devil’s candidates, and was set apart from the beginning to no other than 
these; and which even then received its consecration to idolatry by idols and in idols yet 
alive? Not as if an idol were anything, but since the things which others offer up to idols 
belong to demons. But if the things which others offer to them belong to demons how much 
more what idols offered to themselves, when they were in life! The demons themselves, 
doubtless, had made provision for themselves by means of those whom they had possessed, 
while in a state of desire and craving, before provision had been actually made. 


201 



Chapter VIII. 


Chapter VIII. 

Hold fast in the meantime this persuasion, while I examine a question which comes in 
our way. For I already hear it is said, that many other things as well as crowns have been 
invented by those whom the world believes to be gods, and that they are notwithstanding 
to be met with both in our present usages and in those of early saints, and in the service of 
God, and in Christ Himself, who did His work as man by no other than these ordinary in- 
strumentalities of human life. Well, let it be so; nor shall I inquire any further back into the 
origin of this things. Let Mercury have been the first who taught the knowledge of letters; 
I will own that they are requisite both for the business and commerce of life, and for per- 
forming our devotion to God. Nay, if he also first strung the chord to give forth melody, I 
will not deny, when listening to David, that this invention has been in use with the saints, 
and has ministered to God. Let /Esculapius have been the first who sought and discovered 
cures: Esaias 403 mentions that he ordered Hezekiah medicine when he was sick. Paul, too, 
knows that a little wine does the stomach good . 404 Let Minerva have been the first who built 
a ship: I shall see Jonah and the apostles sailing. Nay, there is more than this: for even Christ, 
we shall find, has ordinary raiment; Paul, too, has his cloak 405 If at once, of every article of 
furniture and each household vessel, you name some god of the world as the originator, 
well, I must recognise Christ, both as He reclines on a couch, and when He presents a basin 
for the feet of His disciples, and when He pours water into it from a ewer, and when He is 
girt about with a linen towel 406 — a garment specially sacred to Osiris. It is thus in general 
I reply upon the point, admitting indeed that we use along with others these articles, but 
challenging that this be judged in the light of the distinction between things agreeable and 
things opposed to reason, because the promiscuous employment of them is deceptive, 
concealing the corruption of the creature, by which it has been made subject to vanity. For 
we affirm that those things only are proper to be used, whether by ourselves or by those 
who lived before us, and alone befit the service of God and Christ Himself, which to meet 
the necessities of human life supply what is simply; useful and affords real assistance and 
honourable comfort, so that they may be well believed to have come from God’s own inspir- 
ation, who first of all no doubt provided for and taught and ministered to the enjoyment, I 
should suppose, of His own man. As for the things which are out of this class, they are not 
fit to be used among us, especially those which on that account indeed are not to be found 
either with the world, or in the ways of Christ. 


403 Isa. xxxviii. 21. 

404 1 Tim. v. 23. 

405 2 Tim. iv. 13. [This is a useful comment as showing what this <paiA.ovri was. Our author translates it by 
pcenula. Of which more when we reach the De Pallio .] 

406 Johnxiii. 1-5. 


202 


Chapter IX. 


Chapter IX. 

In short, what patriarch, what prophet, what Levite, or priest, or ruler, or at a later 
period what apostle, or preacher of the gospel, or bishop, do you ever find the wearer of a 
crown? 40 ' I think not even the temple of God itself was crowned; as neither was the ark of 
the testament, nor the tabernacle of witness, nor the altar, nor the candlestick crowned 
though certainly, both on that first solemnity of the dedication, and in that second rejoicing 
for the restoration, crowning would have been most suitable if it were worthy of God. But 
if these things were figures of us (for we are temples of God, and altars, and lights, and sacred 
vessels), this too they in figure set forth, that the people of God ought not to be crowned. 
The reality must always correspond with the image. If, perhaps, you object that Christ 
Himself was crowned, to that you will get the brief reply: Be you too crowned, as He was; 
you have full permission. Yet even that crown of insolent ungodliness was not of any decree 
of the Jewish people. It was a device of the Roman soldiers, taken from the practice of the 
world, — a practice which the people of God never allowed either on the occasion of public 
rejoicing or to gratify innate luxury: so they returned from the Babylonish captivity with 
timbrels, and flutes, and psalteries, more suitably than with crowns; and after eating and 
drinking, uncrowned, they rose up to play. Neither would the account of the rejoicing nor 
the exposure of the luxury have been silent touching the honour or dishonour of the crown. 
Thus too Isaiah, as he says, “With timbrels, and psalteries, and flutes they drink wine ,” 408 
would have added “with crowns,” if this practice had ever had place in the things of God. 


407 [But see Eusebius, Hist. B. v., cap. 24, whose story is examined by Lardner, Cred., vol. iv., p. 448.] 

408 Isa. v. 12. 


203 


Chapter X. 


Chapter X. 

So, when you allege that the ornaments of the heathen deities are found no less with 
God, with the object of claiming among these for general use the head-crown, you already 
lay it down for yourself, that we must not have among us, as a thing whose use we are to 
share with others, what is not to be found in the service of God. Well, what is so unworthy 
of God indeed as that which is worthy of an idol? But what is so worthy of an idol as that 
which is also worthy of a dead man? For it is the privilege of the dead also to be thus crowned, 
as they too straightway become idols, both by their dress and the service of deification, 
which (deification) is with us a second idolatry. Wanting, then, the sense, it will be theirs 
to use the thing for which the sense is wanting, just as if in full possession of the sense they 
wished to abuse it. When there ceases to be any reality in the use, there is no distinction 
between using and abusing. Who can abuse a thing, when the precipient nature with which 
he wishes to carry out his purpose is not his to use it? The apostle, moreover, forbids us to 
abuse, while he would more naturally have taught us not to use, unless on the ground that, 
where there is no sense for things, there is no wrong use of them. But the whole affair is 
meaningless, and is, in fact, a dead work so far as concerns the idols; though, without doubt, 
a living one as respects the demons 409 to whom the religious rite belongs. “The idols of the 
heathen,” says David, “are silver and gold.” “They have eyes, and see not; a nose, and smell 
not; hands, and they will not handle .” 410 By means of these organs, indeed, we are to enjoy 
flowers; but if he declares that those who make idols will be like them, they already are so 
who use anything after the style of idol adornings. “To the pure all things are pure: so, like- 
wise, all things to the impure are impure ;” 411 but nothing is more impure than idols. The 
substances are themselves as creatures of God without impurity, and in this their native 
state are free to the use of all; but the ministries to which in their use they are devoted, makes 
all the difference; for I, too, kill a cock for myself, just as Socrates did for /Esculapius; and 
if the smell of some place or other offends me, I burn the Arabian product myself, but not 
with the same ceremony, nor in the same dress, nor with the same pomp, with which it is 
done to idols . 412 If the creature is defiled by a mere word, as the apostle teaches, “But if any 
one say, This is offered in sacrifice to idols, you must not touch it ,” 413 much more when it 
is polluted by the dress, and rites, and pomp of what is offered to the gods. Thus the crown 


409 [Compare De Idololatria , cap. xv., p. 70, supra.] 

410 Ps. cxv. 4-8. 

411 Tit. i. 15. 

412 [He seems to know no use for incense except for burials and for fumigation.] 
1 Cor. x. 28. 


413 


204 


Chapter X. 


also is made out to be an offering to idols ; 414 for with this ceremony, and dress, and pomp, 
it is presented in sacrifice to idols, its originators, to whom its use is specially given over, 
and chiefly on this account, that what has no place among the things of God may not be 
admitted into use with us as with others. Wherefore the apostle exclaims, “Flee idolatry :” 415 
certainly idolatry whole and entire he means. Reflect on what a thicket it is, and how many 
thorns he hid in it. Nothing must be given to an idol, and so nothing must be taken from 
one. If it is inconsistent with faith to recline in an idol temple, what is it to appear in an idol 
dress? What communion have Christ and Belial? Therefore flee from it; for he enjoins us 
to keep at a distance from idolatry — to have no close dealings with it of any kind. Even an 
earthly serpent sucks in men at some distance with its breath. Going still further, John says, 
“My little children, keep yourselves from idols,” 416 — not now from idolatry, as if from the 
service of it, but from idols — that is, from any resemblance to them: for it is an unworthy 
thing that you, the image of the living God, should become the likeness of an idol and a 
dead man. Thus far we assert, that this attire belongs to idols, both from the history of its 
origin, and from its use by false religion; on this ground, besides, that while it is not men- 
tioned as connected with the worship of God, it is more and more given over to those in 
whose antiquities, as well as festivals and services, it is found. In a word, the very doors, the 
very victims and altars, the very servants and priests, are crowned. You have, in Claudius, 
the crowns of all the various colleges of priests. We have added also that distinction between 
things altogether different from each other — things, namely, agreeable, and things contrary 
to reason — in answer to those who, because there happens to be the use of some things in 
common, maintain the right of participation in all things. With reference to this part of the 
subject, therefore, it now remains that the special grounds for wearing crowns should be 
examined, that while we show these to be foreign, nay, even opposed to our Christian dis- 
cipline, we may demonstrate that none of them have any plea of reason to support it, on 
the basis of which this article of dress might be vindicated as one in whose use we can parti- 
cipate, as even some others may whose instances are cast up to us. 


414 [Kaye (p. 362) defends our author against Barbeyrac’s animadversions, by the maxim, “put yourself in 
his place” i.e. among the abominations of Paganism.] 

415 1 Cor. x. 14. 

416 1 John v. 21. 


205 


Chapter XI. 


Chapter XI. 

To begin with the real ground of the military crown, I think we must first inquire 
whether warfare is proper at all for Christians. What sense is there in discussing the merely 
accidental, when that on which it rests is to be condemned? Do we believe it lawful for a 
human oath 417 to be superadded to one divine, for a man to come under promise to another 
master after Christ, and to abjure father, mother, and all nearest kinsfolk, whom even the 
law has commanded us to honour and love next to God Himself, to whom the gospel, too, 
holding them only of less account than Christ, has in like manner rendered honour? Shall 
it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who 
uses the sword shall perish by the sword? And shall the son of peace take part in the battle 
when it does not become him even to sue at law? And shall he apply the chain, and the 
prison, and the torture, and the punishment, who is not the avenger even of his own wrongs? 
Shall he, forsooth, either keep watch-service for others more than for Christ, or shall he do 
it on the Lord’s day, when he does not even do it for Christ Himself? And shall he keep 
guard before the temples which he has renounced? And shall he take a meal where the 
apostle has forbidden him? And shall he diligently protect by night those whom in the 
day-time he has put to flight by his exorcisms, leaning and resting on the spear the while 
with which Christ’s side was pierced? Shall he carry a flag , 419 too, hostile to Christ? And 
shall he ask a watchword from the emperor who has already received one from God? Shall 
he be disturbed in death by the trumpet of the trumpeter, who expects to be aroused by the 
angel’s trump? And shall the Christian be burned according to camp rule, when he was not 
permitted to burn incense to an idol, when to him Christ remitted the punishment of fire? 
Then how many other offences there are involved in the performances of camp offices, 
which we must hold to involve a transgression of God’s law, you may see by a slight survey. 
The very carrying of the name over from the camp of light to the camp of darkness is a viol- 
ation of it. Of course, if faith comes later, and finds any preoccupied with military service, 
their case is different, as in the instance of those whom John used to receive for baptism, 
and of those most faithful centurions, I mean the centurion whom Christ approves, and the 
centurion whom Peter instructs; yet, at the same time, when a man has become a believer, 
and faith has been sealed, there must be either an immediate abandonment of it, which has 
been the course with many; or all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted to in order to 
avoid offending God, and that is not allowed even outside of military service ; 420 or, last of 

417 [He plays on this word Sacramentum. Is the military sacrament to be added to the Lord’s?] 

418 1 Cor. viii. 10. 

419 [Vexillum. Such words as these prepared for the Labarum.] 

420 “Outside of the military service.” By substituting ex militia for the corresponding words extra militiam, 
as has been proposed by Rigaltius, the sentence acquires a meaning such that desertion from the army is suggested 


206 


Chapter XI. 


all, for God the fate must be endured which a citizen-faith has been no less ready to accept. 
Neither does military service hold out escape from punishment of sins, or exemption from 
martyrdom. Nowhere does the Christian change his character. There is one gospel, and the 
same Jesus, who will one day deny every one who denies, and acknowledge every one who 
acknowledges God, — who will save, too, the life which has been lost for His sake; but, on 
the other hand, destroy that which for gain has been saved to His dishonour. With Him the 
faithful citizen is a soldier, just as the faithful soldier is a citizen . 421 A state of faith admits 
no plea of necessity; they are under no necessity to sin, whose one necessity is, that they do 
not sin. For if one is pressed to the offering of sacrifice and the sheer denial of Christ by the 
necessity of torture or of punishment, yet discipline does not connive even at that necessity; 
because there is a higher necessity to dread denying and to undergo martyrdom, than to 
escape from suffering, and to render the homage required. In fact, an excuse of this sort 
overturns the entire essence of our sacrament, removing even the obstacle to voluntary sins; 
for it will be possible also to maintain that inclination is a necessity, as involving in it, for- 
sooth, a sort of compulsion. I have, in fact, disposed of this very allegation of necessity with 
reference to the pleas by which crowns connected with official position are vindicated, in 
support of which it is in common use, since for this very reason offices must be either refused, 
that we may not fall into acts of sin, or martyrdoms endured that we may get quit of offices. 
Touching this primary aspect of the question, as to the unlawfulness even of a military life 
itself, I shall not add more, that the secondary question maybe restored to its place. Indeed, 
if, putting my strength to the question, I banish from us the military life, I should now to 
no purpose issue a challenge on the matter of the military crown. Suppose, then, that the 

499 

military service is lawful, as far as the plea for the crown is concerned. 


as one of the methods by which a soldier who has become a Christian may continue faithful to Jesus. But the 
words extra militiam are a genuine part of the text. There is no good ground, therefore, for the statement of 
Gibbon: “Tertullian (de Corona Militis, c. xi.) suggests to them the expedient of deserting; a counsel which, if 
it had been generally known, was not very proper to conciliate the favour of the emperors toward the Christian 
sect.” — Tr. 

421 “The faithful,” etc.; i.e., the kind of occupation which any one has cannot be pleaded by him as a reason 
for not doing all that Christ has enjoined upon His people. — Tr. 

422 [He was not yet quite a Montanist.] 


207 



Chapter XII. 


Chapter XII. 

But I first say a word also about the crown itself. This laurel one is sacred to Apollo or 
Bacchus — to the former as the god of archery, to the latter as the god of triumphs. In like 
manner Claudius teaches; when he tells us that soldiers are wont too to be wreathed in 
myrtle. For the myrtle belongs to Venus, the mother of the /Eneadae, the mistress also of 
the god of war, who, through Ilia and the Romuli is Roman. But I do not believe that Venus 
is Roman as well as Mars, because of the vexation the concubine gave her. When military 

service again is crowned with olive, the idolatry has respect to Minerva, who is equally the 
goddess of arms — but got a crown of the tree referred to, because of the peace she made 
with Neptune. In these respects, the superstition of the military garland will be everywhere 
defiled and all-defiling. And it is further defiled, I should think, also in the grounds of it. Lo 
the yearly public pronouncing of vows, what does that bear on its face to be? It takes place 
first in the part of the camp where the general’s tent is, and then in the temples. In addition 
to the places, observe the words also: “We vow that you, O Jupiter, will then have an ox 
with gold-decorated horns.” What does the utterance mean? Without a doubt the denial 
(of Christ). Albeit the Christian says nothing in these places with the mouth, he makes his 
response by having the crown on his head. The laurel is likewise commanded (to be used) 
at the distribution of the largess. So you see idolatry is not without its gain, selling, as it does, 
Christ for pieces of gold, as Judas did for pieces of silver. Will it be “Ye cannot serve God 
and mammon ” 424 to devote your energies to mammon, and to depart from God? Will it be 
“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are 
God’s ,” 425 not only not to render the human being to God, but even to take the denarius 
from Caesar? Is the laurel of the triumph made of leaves, or of corpses? Is it adorned with 
ribbons, or with tombs? Is it bedewed with ointments, or with the tears of wives and mothers? 
It may be of some Christians too ; 426 for Christ is also among the barbarians 427 Has not he 
who has carried (a crown for) this cause on his head, fought even against himself? Another 
son of service belongs to the royal guards. And indeed crowns are called (Castrenses), as 
belonging to the camp; Munificce likewise, from the Caesarean functions they perform. But 
even then you are still the soldier and the servant of another; and if of two masters, of God 
and Caesar: but assuredly then not of Caesar, when you owe yourself to God, as having 
higher claims, I should think, even in matters in which both have an interest. 


423 i.e., Ilia. 

424 Matt. vi. 24. 

425 Matt. xxii. 21. 

426 [Such considerations may account for our author’s abandonment of what he says in the Apology; which 
compare in capp. xlii. and xxxix.] 

427 [Et apud barbaros enim Christus. See Kaye’s argument, p. 87.] 


208 


Chapter XIII. 


Chapter XIII. 

For state reasons, the various orders of the citizens also are crowned with laurel crowns; 
but the magistrates besides with golden ones, as at Athens, and at Rome. Even to those are 
preferred the Etruscan. This appellation is given to the crowns which, distinguished by their 
gems and oak leaves of gold, they put on, with mantles having an embroidery of palm 
branches, to conduct the chariots containing the images of the gods to the circus. There are 
also provincial crowns of gold, needing now the larger heads of images instead of those of 
men. But your orders, and your magistracies, and your very place of meeting, the church, 
are Christ’s. You belong to Him, for you have been enrolled in the books of life. There 
the blood of the Lord serves for your purple robe, and your broad stripe is His own cross; 
there the axe is already laid to the trunk of the tree ; 429 there is the branch out of the root of 
Jesse . 430 Never mind the state horses with their crown. Your Lord, when, according to the 
Scripture, He would enter Jerusalem in triumph, had not even an ass of His own. These (put 
their trust) in chariots, and these in horses; but we will seek our help in the name of the 
Lord our God . 431 From so much as a dwelling in that Babylon of John’s Revelation 432 we 
are called away; much more then from its pomp. The rabble, too, are crowned, at one time 
because of some great rejoicing for the success of the emperors; at another, on account of 
some custom belonging to municipal festivals. For luxury strives to make her own every 
occasion of public gladness. But as for you, you are a foreigner in this world, a citizen of 
Jerusalem, the city above. Our citizenship, the apostle says, is in heaven 433 You have your 
own registers, your own calendar; you have nothing to do with the joys of the world; nay, 
you are called to the very opposite, for “the world shall rejoice, but ye shall mourn .” 434 And 
I think the Lord affirms, that those who mourn are happy, not those who are crowned. 
Marriage, too, decks the bridegroom with its crown; and therefore we will not have heathen 
brides, lest they seduce us even to the idolatry with which among them marriage is initiated. 
You have the law from the patriarchs indeed; you have the apostle enjoining people to marry 
in the Lord . 435 You have a crowning also on the making of a freeman; but you have been 
already ransomed by Christ, and that at a great price. How shall the world manumit the 
servant of another? Though it seems to be liberty, yet it will come to be found bondage. In 


428 

Phil. iv. 3. 

429 

Matt. iii. 10. 

430 

Isa. xi. 1. 

431 

Ps. xx. 7. 

432 

Rev. xviii. 4. [He understands this of Rome. 

433 

Phil. iii. 20. 

434 

John xvi. 20. 

435 

1 Cor. vii. 39. 


209 


Chapter XIII. 


the world everything is nominal, and nothing real. For even then, as ransomed by Christ, 
you were under no bondage to man; and now, though man has given you liberty, you are 
the servant of Christ. If you think freedom of the world to be real, so that you even seal it 
with a crown, you have returned to the slavery of man, imagining it to be freedom; you have 
lost the freedom of Christ, fancying it is slavery. Will there be any dispute as to the cause of 
crown-wearing, which contests in the games in their turn supply, and which, both as sacred 
to the gods and in honour of the dead, their own reason at once condemns? It only remains, 
that the Olympian Jupiter, and the Nemean Hercules, and the wretched little Archemorus, 
and the hapless Antinous, should be crowned in a Christian, that he himself may become 
a spectacle disgusting to behold. We have recounted, as I think, all the various causes of the 
wearing of the crown, and there is not one which has any place with us: all are foreign to 
us, unholy, unlawful, having been abjured already once for all in the solemn declaration of 
the sacrament. For they were of the pomp of the devil and his angels, offices of the world , 436 
honours, festivals, popularity huntings, false vows, exhibitions of human servility, empty 
praises, base glories, and in them all idolatry, even in respect of the origin of the crowns 
alone, with which they are all wreathed. Claudius will tell us in his preface, indeed, that in 
the poems of Homer the heaven also is crowned with constellations, and that no doubt by 
God, no doubt for man; therefore man himself, too, should be crowned by God. But the 
world crowns brothels, and baths, and bakehouses, and prisons, and schools, and the very 
amphitheatres, and the chambers where the clothes are stripped from dead gladiators, and 
the very biers of the dead. How sacred and holy, how venerable and pure is this article of 
dress, determine not from the heaven of poetry alone, but from the traffickings of the whole 
world. But indeed a Christian will not even dishonour his own gate with laurel crowns, if 
so be he knows how many gods the devil has attached to doors; Janus so-called from gate, 
Limentinus from threshold, Forcus and Carna from leaves and hinges; among the Greeks, 
too, the Thyraean Apollo, and the evil spirits, the Antelii. 


436 [A suggestive interpretation of the baptismal vow, of which see Bunsen, Hippol, Vol. III., p. 20.] 


210 



Chapter XIV. 


Chapter XIV. 

Much less may the Christian put the service of idolatry on his own head — nay, I might 
have said, upon Christ, since Christ is the Head of the Christian man — (for his head) is as 
free as even Christ is, under no obligation to wear a covering, not to say a band. But even 
the head which is bound to have the veil, I mean woman’s, as already taken possession of 
by this very thing, is not open also to a band. She has the burden of her own humility to 

Ann 

bear. If she ought not to appear with her head uncovered on account of the angels, much 
more with a crown on it will she offend those (elders) who perhaps are then wearing crowns 

A n O 

above. For what is a crown on the head of a woman, but beauty made seductive, but mark 

of utter wantonness, — a notable casting away of modesty, a setting temptation on fire? 
Therefore a woman, taking counsel from the apostles’ foresight , 439 will not too elaborately 
adorn herself, that she may not either be crowned with any exquisite arrangement of her 
hair. What sort of garland, however, I pray you, did He who is the Head of the man and 
the glory of the woman, Christ Jesus, the Husband of the church, submit to in behalf of both 
sexes? Of thorns, I think, and thistles, — a figure of the sins which the soil of the flesh brought 
forth for us, but which the power of the cross removed, blunting, in its endurance by the 
head of our Lord, death’s every sting. Yes, and besides the figure, there is contumely with 
ready lip, and dishonour, and infamy, and the ferocity involved in the cruel things which 
then disfigured and lacerated the temples of the Lord, that you may now be crowned with 
laurel, and myrtle, and olive, and any famous branch, and which is of more use, with hun- 
dred-leaved roses too, culled from the garden of Midas, and with both kinds of lily, and with 
violets of all sorts, perhaps also with gems and gold, so as even to rival that crown of Christ 
which He afterwards obtained. For it was after the gall He tasted the honeycomb 440 and He 
was not greeted as King of Glory in heavenly places till He had been condemned to the cross 
as King of the Jews, having first been made by the Father for a time a little less than the angels, 
and so crowned with glory and honour. If for these things, you owe your own head to Him, 
repay it if you can, such as He presented His for yours; or be not crowned with flowers at 
all, if you cannot be with thorns, because you may not be with flowers. 


437 1 Cor. xi. 10. [Does he here play on the use of the word angels in the Revelation? He seems to make it = 
elders.] 

438 Rev. iv. 4. 

439 1 Tim. ii. 9; 1 Pet. iii. 3. 

440 [A very striking collocation of Matt, xxvii. 34, and Luke xxiv. 42.] 

211 


Chapter XV. 


Chapter XV. 

Keep for God His own property untainted; He will crown it if He choose. Nay, then, 
He does even choose. He calls us to it. To him who conquers He says, “I will give a crown 
of life .” 441 Be you, too, faithful unto death, and fight you, too, the good fight, whose crown 
the apostle 442 feels so justly confident has been laid up for him. The angel 443 also, as he goes 
forth on a white horse, conquering and to conquer, receives a crown of victory; and anoth- 
er 444 is adorned with an encircling rainbow (as it were in its fair colours) — a celestial 
meadow. In like manner, the elders sit crowned around, crowned too with a crown of gold, 
and the Son of Man Himself flashes out above the clouds. If such are the appearances in the 
vision of the seer, of what sort will be the realities in the actual manifestation? Look at those 
crowns. Inhale those odours. Why condemn you to a little chaplet, or a twisted headband, 
the brow which has been destined for a diadem? For Christ Jesus has made us even kings 
to God and His Father. What have you in common with the flower which is to die? You 
have a flower in the Branch of Jesse, upon which the grace of the Divine Spirit in all its fulness 
rested — a flower undefiled, unfading, everlasting, by choosing which the good soldier, too, 
has got promotion in the heavenly ranks. Blush, ye fellow-soldiers of his, henceforth not 
to be condemned even by him, but by some soldier of Mithras, who, at his initiation in the 
gloomy cavern, in the camp, it may well be said, of darkness, when at the sword’s point a 
crown is presented to him, as though in mimicry of martyrdom, and thereupon put upon 
his head, is admonished to resist and cast it off, and, if you like, transfer it to his shoulder, 
saying that Mithras is his crown. And thenceforth he is never crowned; and he has that for 
a mark to show who he is, if anywhere he be subjected to trial in respect of his religion; and 
he is at once believed to be a soldier of Mithras if he throws the crown away — if he say that 
in his god he has his crown. Let us take note of the devices of the devil, who is wont to ape 
some of God’s things with no other design than, by the faithfulness of his servants, to put 
us to shame, and to condemn us. 


441 Rev. ii. 10; Jas. i. 22. 

442 2 Tim. iv. 8. 

443 Rev. vi. 2. 


444 


Rev. x. 1. 


212 


Elucidations. 


Elucidations. 


I. 

(Usages, p. 94.) 

Here a reference to Bunsen’s Hippolytus, vol. III., so often referred to in the former 
volume, will be useful. A slight metaphrase will bring out the sense, perhaps, of this most 
interesting portrait of early Christian usages. 

In baptism, we use trine immersion, in honour of the trinal Name, after renouncing the 
devil and his angels and the pomps and vanities of his kingdom. 445 But this trinal rite is a 
ceremonial amplification of what is actually commanded. It was heretofore tolerated in 
some places that communicants should take each one his portion, with his own hand, but 
now we suffer none to receive this sacrament except at the hand of the minister. By our 
Lord’s own precept and example, it may be received at the hour of ordinary meals, and alike 
by all the faithful whether men or women, yet we usually do this in our gatherings before 
daybreak. Offerings are made in honour of our departed friends, on the anniversaries of 
their deaths, which we esteem their true birthdays, as they are born to a better life. We kneel 
at other times, but on the Lord’s day, and from the Paschal Feast to Pentecost we stand in 
prayer, nor do we count it lawful to fast on Sundays. We are concerned if even a particle of 
the wine or bread, made ours, in the Lord’s Supper, falls to the ground, by our carelessness. 
In all the ordinary occasions of life we furrow our foreheads with the sign of the Cross, in 
which we glory none the less because it is regarded as our shame by the heathen in presence 
of whom it is a profession of our faith. 

He owns there is no Scripture for any of these usages, in which there was an amplifying 
of the precepts of Christ. Let us note there was yet no superstitious usage even of this sign 
of the Cross. It was an act by which, in suffering “shame for Jesus’ name,” they fortified 
themselves against betraying the Master. It took the place, be it remembered, of innumerable 
heathen practices, and was a protest against them. It meant — “God forbid that I should 
glory, save in the Cross.” I express no personal opinion as to this observance, but give the 
explanation which the early Christians would have given. Tertullian touched with 
Montanism, but not yet withdrawn from Catholic Communion, pleads the common cause 
of believers. 



II. 


445 See Kaye, pp. 408-415. 


213 



Elucidations. 


(Traditions, cap. iv., p. 95.) 

The traditions here argued for respect things in their nature indifferent. And as our 
author asserts the long continuance of such usages to be their chief justification, it is evident 
that he supposed them common from the Sub-apostolic age. There is nothing here to justify 
amplifications and traditions which, subsequently, came in like a flood to change principles 
of the Faith once delivered to the Saints. Even in his little plea for Montanistic revelations 
of some possible novelties, he pre- supposes that reason must be subject to Scripture and 
Apostolic Law. In a word, his own principle of “Prescription” must be honoured even in 
things indifferent; if novel they are not Catholic. 


214 



To Scapula. 


V. 

To Scapula . 446 

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.] 


Chapter I. 

We are not in any great perturbation or alarm about the persecutions we suffer from 
the ignorance of men; for we have attached ourselves to this sect, fully accepting the terms 
of its covenant, so that, as men whose very lives are not their own, we engage in these con- 
flicts, our desire being to obtain God’s promised rewards, and our dread lest the woes with 
which He threatens an unchristian life should overtake us. Hence we shrink not from the 
grapple with your utmost rage, coming even forth of our own accord to the contest; and 
condemnation gives us more pleasure than acquittal. We have sent, therefore, this tract to 
you in no alarm about ourselves, but in much concern for you and for all our enemies, to 
say nothing of our friends. For our religion commands us to love even our enemies, and to 
pray for those who persecute us, aiming at a perfection all its own, and seeking in its disciples 
something of a higher type than the commonplace goodness of the world. For all love those 
who love them; it is peculiar to Christians alone to love those that hate them. Therefore 
mourning over your ignorance, and compassionating human error, and looking on to that 
future of which every day shows threatening signs, necessity is laid on us to come forth in 
this way also, that we may set before you the truths you will not listen to openly. 


446 [See Elucidation I. Written late in our author’s life, this tract contains no trace of Montanism, and shows 
that his heart was with the common cause of all Christians. Who can give up such an Ephraim without recalling 
the words of inspired love for the erring? — Jer. xxxi. 20; Hos. xi. 8.] 


215 


Chapter II. 


Chapter II. 

We are worshippers of one God, of whose existence and character Nature teaches all 
men; at whose lightnings and thunders you tremble, whose benefits minister to your happi- 
ness. You think that others, too, are gods, whom we know to be devils. However, it is a 
fundamental human right, a privilege of nature, that every man should worship according 
to his own convictions: one man’s religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is as- 
suredly no part of religion to compel religion — to which free-will and not force should lead 
us — the sacrificial victims even being required of a willing mind. You will render no real 
service to your gods by compelling us to sacrifice. For they can have no desire of offerings 
from the unwilling, unless they are animated by a spirit of contention, which is a thing alto- 
gether undivine. Accordingly the true God bestows His blessings alike on wicked men and 
on His own elect; upon which account He has appointed an eternal judgment, when both 
thankful and unthankful will have to stand before His bar. Yet you have never detected 
us — sacrilegious wretches though you reckon us to be — in any theft, far less in any sacrilege. 
But the robbers of your temples, all of them swear by your gods, and worship them; they 
are not Christians, and yet it is they who are found guilty of sacrilegious deeds. We have 
not time to unfold in how many other ways your gods are mocked and despised by their 
own votaries. So, too, treason is falsely laid to our charge, though no one has ever been able 
to find followers of Albinus, or Niger, or Cassius, among Christians; while the very men 
who had sworn by the genii of the emperors, who had offered and vowed sacrifices for their 
safety, who had often pronounced condemnation on Christ’s disciples, are till this day found 
traitors to the imperial throne. A Christian is enemy to none, least of all to the Emperor of 
Rome, whom he knows to be appointed by his God, and so cannot but love and honour; 
and whose well-being moreover, he must needs desire, with that of the empire over which 
he reigns so long as the world shall stand — for so long as that shall Rome continue. 44 ' To 
the emperor, therefore, we render such reverential homage as is lawful for us and good for 
him; regarding him as the human being next to God who from God has received all his 
power, and is less than God alone. And this will be according to his own desires. For thus — as 
less only than the true God — he is greater than all besides. Thus he is greater than the very 
gods themselves, even they, too, being subject to him. We therefore sacrifice for the emperor’s 
safety, but to our God and his, and after the manner God has enjoined, in simple prayer. 
For God, Creator of the universe, has no need of odours or of blood. These things are the 


447 [Kaye points out our author’s inconsistencies on this matter. If Caractacus ever made the speech ascribed 
to him (Bede, or Gibbon, cap. lxxi.) it would confirm the opinion of those who make him a convert to Christ: 
“Quando cadet Roma, cadet et mundus.” Elucidation II.] 


216 



Chapter II. 


food of devils . 448 But we not only reject those wicked spirits: we overcome them; we daily 
hold them up to contempt; we exorcise them from their victims, as multitudes can testify. 
So all the more we pray for the imperial well-being, as those who seek it at the hands of Him 
who is able to bestow it. And one would think it must be abundantly clear to you that the 
religious system under whose rules we act is one inculcating a divine patience; since, though 
our numbers are so great — constituting all but the majority in every city — we conduct 
ourselves so quietly and modestly; I might perhaps say, known rather as individuals than 
as organized communities, and remarkable only for the reformation of our former vices. 
For far be it from us to take it ill that we have laid on us the very things we wish, or in any 
way plot the vengeance at our own hands, which we expect to come from God. 


448 [On this sort of Demonology see Kaye, pp. 203-207, with his useful references. See De Spectaculis, p. 80, 

supra.] 


217 



Chapter III. 


Chapter III. 

However, as we have already remarked, it cannot but distress us that no state shall bear 
unpunished the guilt of shedding Christian blood; as you see, indeed, in what took place 
during the presidency of Hilarian, for when there had been some agitation about places of 
sepulture for our dead, and the cry arose, “No areas — no burial-grounds for the Christians,” 
it came that their own arece , 449 their threshing-floors, were a- wanting, for they gathered in 
no harvests. As to the rains of the bygone year, it is abundantly plain of what they were in- 
tended to remind men — of the deluge, no doubt, which in ancient times overtook human 
unbelief and wickedness; and as to the fires which lately hung all night over the walls of 
Carthage, they who saw them know what they threatened; and what the preceding thunders 
pealed, they who were hardened by them can tell. All these things are signs of God’s impend- 
ing wrath, which we must needs publish and proclaim in every possible way; and in the 
meanwhile we must pray it may be only local. Sure are they to experience it one day in its 
universal and final form, who interpret otherwise these samples of it. That sun, too, in the 
metropolis of Utica , 450 with light all but extinguished, was a portent which could not have 
occurred from an ordinary eclipse, situated as the lord of day was in his height and house. 
Y ou have the astrologers, consult them about it. We can point you also to the deaths of some 
provincial rulers, who in their last hours had painful memories of their sin in persecuting 
the followers of Christ . 451 Vigellius Saturninus, who first here used the sword against us, 
lost his eyesight. Claudius Lucius Herminianus in Cappadocia, enraged that his wife had 
become a Christian, had treated the Christians with great cruelty: well, left alone in his 
palace, suffering under a contagious malady, he boiled out in living worms, and was heard 
exclaiming, “Let nobody know of it, lest the Christians rejoice, and Christian wives take 
encouragement.” Afterwards he came to see his error in having tempted so many from their 
stedfastness by the tortures he inflicted, and died almost a Christian himself. In that doom 
which overtook Byzantium , 452 Caecilius Capella could not help crying out, “Christians, re- 
joice!” Yes, and the persecutors who seem to themselves to have acted with impunity shall 
not escape the day of judgment. For you we sincerely wish it may prove to have been a 
warning only, that, immediately after you had condemned Mavilus of Adrumetum to the 
wild beasts, you were overtaken by those troubles, and that even now for the same reason 
you are called to a blood-reckoning. But do not forget the future. 


449 [An obvious play on the ambiguity of this word.] 

450 [Notes of the time when this was written. See Kaye, p. 57.] 

45 1 [Christians remembered Herod (Acts xii. 23) very naturally; but we may reserve remarks on such instances 
till we come to Lactantius. But see Kaye (p. 102) who speaks unfavourably of them.] 

452 [Notes of the time when this was written. See Kaye, p. 57.] 


218 


Chapter TV. 


Chapter IV. 

We who are without fear ourselves are not seeking to frighten you, but we would save 
all men if possible by warning them not to fight with God . 453 You may perform the duties 
of your charge, and yet remember the claims of humanity; if on no other ground than that 
you are liable to punishment yourself, (you ought to do so). For is not your commission 
simply to condemn those who confess their guilt, and to give over to the torture those who 
deny? You see, then, how you trespass yourselves against your instructions to wring from 
the confessing a denial. It is, in fact, an acknowledgment of our innocence that you refuse 
to condemn us at once when we confess. In doing your utmost to extirpate us, if that is your 
object, it is innocence you assail. But how many rulers, men more resolute and more cruel 
than you are, have contrived to get quit of such causes altogether, — as Cincius Severus, who 
himself suggested the remedy at Thysdris, pointing out how the Christians should answer 
that they might secure an acquittal; as Vespronius Candidus, who dismissed from his bar a 
Christian, on the ground that to satisfy his fellow- citizens would break the peace of the 
community; as Asper, who, in the case of a man who gave up his faith under slight infliction 
of the torture, did not compel the offering of sacrifice, having owned before, among the 
advocates and assessors of court, that he was annoyed at having had to meddle with such a 
case. Pudens, too, at once dismissed a Christian who was brought before him, perceiving 
from the indictment that it was a case of vexatious accusation; tearing the document in 
pieces, he refused so much as to hear him without the presence of his accuser, as not being 
consistent with the imperial commands. All this might be officially brought under your 
notice, and by the very advocates, who are themselves also under obligations to us, although 
in court they give their voice as it suits them. The clerk of one of them who was liable to be 
thrown upon the ground by an evil spirit, was set free from his affliction; as was also the 
relative of another, and the little boy of a third. How many men of rank (to say nothing of 
common people) have been delivered from devils, and healed of diseases! Even Severus 
himself, the father of Antonine, was graciously mindful of the Christians; for he sought out 
the Christian Proculus, surnamed Torpacion, the steward of Euhodias, and in gratitude for 
his having once cured him by anointing, he kept him in his palace till the day of his death . 454 
Antonine, too, brought up as he was on Christian milk, was intimately acquainted with this 
man. Both women and men of highest rank, whom Severus knew well to be Christians, were 
not merely permitted by him to remain uninjured; but he even bore distinguished testimony 
in their favour, and gave them publicly back to us from the hands of a raging populace. 
Marcus Aurelius also, in his expedition to Germany, by the prayers his Christian soldiers 


453 [Our author uses the Greek (jur) Seojiaxetv) but not textually of Acts v. 39.] 

454 [Another note of time. a.d. 211. See Kaye, as before.] 

219 


Chapter IV. 


offered to God, got rain in that well-known thirst . 455 When, indeed, have not droughts been 
put away by our kneelings and our fastings? At times like these, moreover, the people crying 
to “the God of gods, the alone Omnipotent,” under the name of Jupiter, have borne witness 
to our God. Then we never deny the deposit placed in our hands; we never pollute the 
marriage bed; we deal faithfully with our wards; we give aid to the needy; we render to none 
evil for evil. As for those who falsely pretend to belong to us, and whom we, too, repudiate, 
let them answer for themselves. In a word, who has complaint to make against us on other 
grounds? To what else does the Christian devote himself, save the affairs of his own com- 
munity, which during all the long period of its existence no one has ever proved guilty of 
the incest or the cruelty charged against it? It is for freedom from crime so singular, for a 
probity so great, for righteousness, for purity, for faithfulness, for truth, for the living God, 
that we are consigned to the flames; for this is a punishment you are not wont to inflict 
either on the sacrilegious, or on undoubted public enemies, or on the treason-tainted, of 
whom you have so many. Nay, even now our people are enduring persecution from the 
governors of Legio and Mauritania; but it is only with the sword, as from the first it was 
ordained that we should suffer. But the greater our conflicts, the greater our rewards. 


455 [Compare Vol. I., p. 187, this Series.] 


220 



Chapter V. 


Chapter V. 

Your cruelly is our glory. Only see you to it, that in having such things as these to endure, 
we do not feel ourselves constrained to rush forth to the combat, if only to prove that we 
have no dread of them, but on the contrary, even invite their infliction. When Arrius Ant- 
oninus was driving things hard in Asia, the whole Christians of the province, in one united 
band, presented themselves before his judgment-seat; on which, ordering a few to be led 
forth to execution, he said to the rest, “O miserable men, if you wish to die, you have precip- 
ices or halters.” If we should take it into our heads to do the same thing here, what will you 
make of so many thousands, of such a multitude of men and women, persons of every sex 
and every age and every rank, when they present themselves before you? How many fires, 
how many swords will be required? What will be the anguish of Carthage itself, which you 
will have to decimate , 456 as each one recognises there his relatives and companions, as he 
sees there it may be men of your own order, and noble ladies, and all the leading persons 
of the city, and either kinsmen or friends of those of your own circle? Spare thyself, if not 
us poor Christians! Spare Carthage, if not thyself! Spare the province, which the indication 
of your purpose has subjected to the threats and extortions at once of the soldiers and of 
private enemies. 

We have no master but God. He is before you, and cannot be hidden from you, but to 
Him you can do no injury. But those whom you regard as masters are only men, and one 
day they themselves must die. Yet still this community will be undying, for be assured that 
just in the time of its seeming overthrow it is built up into greater power. For all who witness 
the noble patience of its martyrs, as struck with misgivings, are inflamed with desire to ex- 
amine into the matter in question ; 457 and as soon as they come to know the truth, they 
straightway enrol themselves its disciples. 


456 [Compare De Fuga, cap. xii. It is incredible that our author could exaggerate in speaking to the chief 
magistrate of Carthage.] 

457 [Mosheim’s strange oversight, in neglecting to include such considerations, in accounting for the growth 
of the church, is justly censured by Kaye, p. 124.] 


221 



Elucidations. 


Elucidations. 


I. 

(Scapula, cap. i., p. 105.) 

Scapula was Proconsul of Carthage, and though its date is conjectural (a.d. 217), this 
work gives valuable indices of its time and circumstances. It was composed after the death 
of Severus, to whom there is an allusion in chapter iv., after the destruction of Byzantium 
(a.d. 196), to which there is a reference in chapter iii.; and Dr. Allix suggests, after the dark 
day of Utica (a.d. 210) which he supposes to be referred to in the same chapter. Cincius 
Severus, who is mentioned in chapter iv., was put to death by Severus, a.d. 198. 

II. 

(Caractacus, cap. ii„ note 2, p. 105.) 

Mr. Lewin (St. Paul, ii. 397), building on the fascinating theory of Archdeacon Williams, 
thinks St. Paul’s Claudia ( Qu . Gladys?) may very well have been the daughter of Caradoc, 
with whose noble character we are made acquainted by Tacitus. (Annals xii. 36.) And 
Archdeacon Williams gives us very strong reason to believe he was a Christian. He may very 
well have lived to behold the Coliseum completed. What more natural then, in view of the 
cruelty against Christians there exercised, for the expressions with which he is credited? In 
this case his words contain an eloquent ambiguity, which Christians would appreciate, and 
which may have been in our author’s mind when he says — “quousque saeculum stabit.” To 
those who looked for the Second Advent, daily, this did not mean what the heathen might 
suppose. 

Bede’s version of the speech (See Du Cange, II., 407., ) is this: “Quandiu stabit Co- 
lyseus — stabit et Roma: Quando cadet Colysevs — cadet et Roma: Quando cadet 
Roma — cadet et mundus.” 


222 



Ad Nationes. 


VI. 

Ad Nationes . 458 
Book I. 

[Translated by Dr. Holmes.] 


Chapter I. 459 — The Hatred Felt by the Heathen Against the Christians is Unjust, 

Because Based on Culpable Ignorance. 

One proof of that ignorance of yours, which condemns 460 whilst it excuses 461 your in- 
justice, is at once apparent in the fact, that all who once shared in your ignorance and hatred 
(of the Christian religion), as soon as they have come to know it, leave off their hatred when 
they cease to be ignorant; nay more, they actually themselves become what they had hated, 
and take to hating what they had once been. Day after day, indeed, you groan over the in- 
creasing number of the Christians. Your constant cry is, that the state is beset (by us); that 
Christians are in your fields, in your camps, in your islands. You grieve over it as a calamity, 
that each sex, every age — in short, every rank — is passing over from you to us; yet you do 
not even after this set your minds upon reflecting whether there be not here some latent 
good. You do not allow yourselves in suspicions which may prove too true , 462 nor do you 
like ventures which may be too near the mark 463 This is the only instance in which human 
curiosity grows torpid. You love to be ignorant of what other men rejoice to have discovered; 
you would rather not know it, because you now cherish your hatred as if you were aware 


458 [As a recapitulation I insert this here to close this class of argument for the reasons following.] This 
treatise resembles The Apology, both in its general purport as a vindication of Christianity against heathen pre- 
judice, and in many of its expressions and statements. So great is the resemblance that this shorter work has 
been thought by some to have been a first draft of the longer and perfect one. T ertullian, however, here addresses 
his expostulations to the general public, while in The Apology it is the rulers and magistrates of the empire whom 
he seeks to influence. [Dr. Allix conjectures the date of this treatise to be about a.d. 217. See Kaye, p. 50.] 

459 Compare The Apology, c. i. 

460 Revincit. “Condemnat” is Tertullian’s word in The Apology, i. 

461 Defendit. “Excusat” in Apol. 

462 Non licet rectius suspicari. 

463 Non lubet propius experiri. 


223 



The Hatred Felt by the Heathen Against the Christians is Unjust, Because... 


that, (with the knowledge,) your hatred would certainly come to an end. Still , 464 if there 
shall be no just ground for hatred, it will surely be found to be the best course to cease from 
the past injustice. Should, however, a cause have really existed there will be no diminution 
of the hatred, which will indeed accumulate so much the more in the consciousness of its 
justice; unless it be, forsooth , 465 that you are ashamed to cast off your faults , 466 or sorry to 
free yourselves from blame . 467 I know very well with what answer you usually meet the ar- 

A/r o 

gument from our rapid increase. That indeed must not, you say, be hastily accounted a 
good thing which converts a great number of persons, and gains them over to its side. I am 
aware how the mind is apt to take to evil courses. How many there are which forsake virtuous 
living! How many seek refuge in the opposite! Many, no doubt ; 469 nay, very many, as the 
last days approach . 470 But such a comparison as this fails in fairness of application; for all 
are agreed in thinking thus of the evil-doer, so that not even the guilty themselves, who take 
the wrong side, and turn away from the pursuit of good to perverse ways, are bold enough 
to defend evil as good . 471 Base things excite their fear, impious ones their shame. In short, 
they are eager for concealment, they shrink from publicity, they tremble when caught; when 
accused, they deny; even when tortured, they do not readily or invariably confess (their 
crime); at all events, " they grieve when they are condemned. They reproach themselves 
for their past life; their change from innocence to an evil disposition they even attribute to 
fate. They cannot say that it is not a wrong thing, therefore they will not admit it to be their 
own act. As for the Christians, however, in what does their case resemble this? No one is 
ashamed; no one is sorry, except for his former (sins). If he is pointed at (for his religion), 
he glories in it; if dragged to trial, he does not resist; if accused, he makes no defence. When 
questioned, he confesses; when condemned, he rejoices. What sort of evil is this, in which 
the nature of evil comes to a standstill ? 474 


464 At quin. 

465 Nisi si. 

466 Emendari pudet. 

467 Excusari piget. 

468 Redundantiae nostra. 

469 Bona fide. 

470 Pro extremitatibus temporum. 

471 Or perhaps, “to maintain evil in preference to good.” 

472 Certe. 

473 Pristinorum. In the corresponding passage ( Apol . i.) the phrase is, “nisi plane retro non fuisse,” i.e., “except 
that he was not a Christian long ago.” 

474 Cessat. 


224 



The Heathen Perverted Judgment in the Trial of Christians. They Would Be... 


Chapter II. 475 — The Heathen Perverted Judgment in the Trial of Christians. They 
Would Be More Consistent If They Dispensed with All Form of Trial. Tertullian 
Urges This with Much Indignation. 

In this case you actually 476 conduct trials contrary to the usual form of judicial process 
against criminals; for when culprits are brought up for trial, should they deny the charge, 
you press them for a confession by tortures. When Christians, however, confess without 
compulsion, you apply the torture to induce them to deny. What great perverseness is this, 
when you stand out against confession, and change the use of the torture, compelling the 
man who frankly acknowledges the charge to evade it, and him who is unwilling, to deny 
it? You, who preside for the purpose of extorting truth, demand falsehood from us alone 
that we may declare ourselves not to be what we are. I suppose you do not want us to be 

A-JQ 

bad men, and therefore you earnestly wish to exclude us from that character. To be sure, 
you put others on the rack and the gibbet, to get them to deny what they have the reputation 
of being. Now, when they deny (the charge against them), you do not believe them but on 
our denial, you instantly believe us. If you feel sure that we are the most injurious of men, 
why, even in processes against us, are we dealt with by you differently from other offenders? 
I do not mean that you make no account of 479 either an accusation or a denial (for your 
practice is not hastily to condemn men without an indictment and a defence); but, to take 
an instance in the trial of a murderer, the case is not at once ended, or the inquiry satisfied, 
on a man’s confessing himself the murderer. However complete his confession , 480 you do 
not readily believe him; but over and above this, you inquire into accessory circum- 
stances — how often had he committed murder; with what weapons, in what place, with 

jo 1 

what plunder, accomplices, and abettors after the fact (was the crime perpetrated) — to 
the end that nothing whatever respecting the criminal might escape detection, and that 

4R9 

every means should be at hand for arriving at a true verdict. In our case, on the contrary, 
whom you believe to be guilty of more atrocious and numerous crimes, you frame your in- 
dictments in briefer and lighter terms. I suppose you do not care to load with accusations 


475 Comp. c. ii. of The Apology. 

476 Ipsi. 

477 Gratis reum. 

478 Sane. 

479 Neque spatium commodetis. 

480 Quanquam confessis. 

481 Receptoribus, “concealers” of the crime. 

482 Porro. 

483 Elogia. 


225 



The Heathen Perverted Judgment in the Trial of Christians. They Would Be... 


men whom you earnestly wish to get rid of, or else you do not think it necessary to inquire 
into matters which are known to you already. It is, however, all the more perverse that you 
compel us to deny charges about which you have the clearest evidence. But, indeed , 484 how 
much more consistent were it with your hatred of us to dispense with all forms of judicial 
process, and to strive with all your might not to urge us to say “No,” and so have to acquit 
the objects of your hatred; but to confess all and singular the crimes laid to our charge, that 
your resentments might be the better glutted with an accumulation of our punishments, 
when it becomes known how many of those feasts each one of us may have celebrated, and 
how many incests we may have committed under cover of the night! What am I saying? 
Since your researches for rooting out our society must needs be made on a wide scale, you 
ought to extend your inquiry against our friends and companions. Let our infanticides and 
the dressers (of our horrible repasts) be brought out, — ay, and the very dogs which minister 

HOC 

to our (incestuous) nuptials; then the business (of our trial) would be without a fault. 
Even to the crowds which throng the spectacles a zest would be given; for with how much 
greater eagerness would they resort to the theatre, when one had to fight in the lists who 
had devoured a hundred babies! For since such horrid and monstrous crimes are reported 
of us, they ought, of course, to be brought to light, lest they should seem to be incredible, 
and the public detestation of us should begin to cool. For most persons are slow to believe 

a Q/r 

such things, feeling a horrible disgust at supposing that our nature could have an appetite 
for the food of wild beasts, when it has precluded these from all concubinage with the race 
of man. 


484 Immo. 

485 We have for once departed from Oehler’s text, and preferred Rigault’s: “Perducerentur infantarii et coci, 
ipsi canes pronubi, emendata esset res.” The sense is evident from The Apology, c. vii.: “It is said that we are 
guilty of most horrible crimes; that in the celebration of our sacrament we put a child to death, which we afterward 
devour, and at the end of our banquet revel in incest; that we employ dogs as ministers of our impure delights, 
to overthrow the candles, and thus to provide darkness, and remove all shame which might interfere with these 
impious lusts” (Chevalier’s translation). These calumnies were very common, and are noticed by Justin Martyr, 
Minucius Felix, Eusebius, Athenagoras, and Origen, who attributes their origin to the Jews. Oehler reads in- 
fanta rice, after the Agobardine codex and editio princeps, and quotes Martial ( Epigr . iv. 88), where the word occurs 
in the sense of an inordinate love of children. 

486 Nam et plerique fidem talium temperant. 


226 



The Great Offence in the Christians Lies in Their Very Name. The Name V... 


Chapter III. 487 — The Great Offence in the Christians Lies in Their Very Name. The 

Name Vindicated. 

Since, therefore, you who are in other cases most scrupulous and persevering in invest- 
igating charges of far less serious import, relinquish your care in cases like ours, which are 
so horrible, and of such surpassing sin that impiety is too mild a word for them, by declining 
to hear confession, which should always be an important process for those who conduct 
judicial proceedings; and failing to make a full inquiry, which should be gone into by such 
as sue for a condemnation, it becomes evident that the crime laid to our charge consists not 
of any sinful conduct, but lies wholly in our name. If, indeed, any real crimes were clearly 
adducible against us, their very names would condemn us, if found applicable , 489 so that 
distinct sentences would be pronounced against us in this wise: Let that murderer, or that 
incestuous criminal, or whatever it be that we are charged with, be led to execution, be 
crucified, or be thrown to the beasts. Your sentences, however , 490 import only that one has 
confessed himself a Christian. No name of a crime stands against us, but only the crime of 
a name. Now this in very deed is neither more nor less than 491 the entire odium which is 
felt against us. The name is the cause: some mysterious force intensified by your ignorance 
assails it, so that you do not wish to know for certain that which for certain you are sure you 
know nothing of and therefore, further, you do not believe things which are not submitted 
to proof, and, lest they should be easily refuted , 492 you refuse to make inquiry, so that the 
odious name is punished under the presumption of (real) crimes. In order, therefore, that 
the issue may be withdrawn from the offensive name, we are compelled to deny it; then 
upon our denial we are acquitted, with an entire absolution 493 for the past: we are no longer 
murderers, no longer incestuous, because we have lost that name . 494 But since this point is 
dealt with in a place of its own , 495 do you tell us plainly why you are pursuing this name 
even to extirpation? What crime, what offence, what fault is there in a name? For you are 
barred by the rule 496 which puts it out of your power to allege crimes (of any man), which 


487 Comp. The Apology, cc. i. and ii. 

488 Adeo si. 

489 Si accommodarent. 

490 Porro. 

491 Haec ratio est. 

492 Reprobentur. 

493 Impunitate. 

494 i.e., the name “Christians.” 

495 By the “suo loco,” Tertullian refers to The Apology. 

496 Praescribitur vobis. 


227 



The Great Offence in the Christians Lies in Their Very Name. The Name V... 


no legal action moots, no indictment specifies, no sentence enumerates. In any case which 
is submitted to the judge , 497 inquired into against the defendant, responded to by him or 
denied, and cited from the bench, I acknowledge a legal charge. Concerning, then, the 
merit of a name, whatever offence names may be charged with, whatever impeachment 
words may be amenable to, I for my part 498 think, that not even a complaint is due to a 
word or a name, unless indeed it has a barbarous sound, or smacks of ill-luck, or is immodest, 
or is indecorous for the speaker, or unpleasant to the hearer. These crimes in (mere) words 
and names are just like barbarous words and phrases, which have their fault, and their sol- 
ecism, and their absurdity of figure. The name Christian, however, so far as its meaning 
goes, bears the sense of anointing. Even when by a faulty pronunciation you call us 
“Chrestians” (for you are not certain about even the sound of this noted name), you in fact 
lisp out the sense of pleasantness and goodness 499 You are therefore vilifying 500 in harmless 
men even the harmless name we bear, which is not inconvenient for the tongue, nor harsh 
to the ear, nor injurious to a single being, nor rude for our country, being a good Greek 
word, as many others also are, and pleasant in sound and sense. Surely, surely , 501 names 
are not things which deserve punishment by the sword, or the cross, or the beasts. 


497 Praesidi. 

498 Ego. 

499 Xpqcrr6<; means both “pleasant” and “good;” and the heathen founded this word with the sacred name 
Xptaroc. 

500 Detinetis. 

501 Et utique. 


228 



The Truth Hated in the Christians; So in Measure Was It, of Old, in Socrates.... 


Chapter IV. 502 — The Truth Hated in the Christians; So in Measure Was It, of Old, 

in Socrates. The Virtues of the Christians. 

But the sect, you say, is punished in the name of its founder. Now in the first place it is, 
no doubt, a fair and usual custom that a sect should be marked out by the name of its founder, 
since philosophers are called Pythagoreans and Platonists after their masters; in the same 
way physicians are called after Erasistratus, and grammarians after Aristarchus. If, therefore, 
a sect has a bad character because its founder was bad, it is punished as the traditional 
bearer 504 of a bad name. But this would be indulging in a rash assumption. The first step 
was to find out what the founder was, that his sect might be understood, instead of hinder- 
ing 505 inquiry into the founder’s character from the sect. Butin our case , 506 by being neces- 
sarily ignorant of the sect, through your ignorance of its founder, or else by not taking a fair 
survey of the founder, because you make no inquiry into his sect, you fasten merely on the 
name, just as if you vilified in it both sect and founder, whom you know nothing of whatever. 
And yet you openly allow your philosophers the right of attaching themselves to any school, 
and bearing its founder’s name as their own; and nobody stirs up any hatred against them, 
although both in public and in private they bark out their bitterest eloquence against 
your customs, rites, ceremonies, and manner of life, with so much contempt for the laws, 

rno 

and so little respect for persons, that they even flaunt their licentious words against the 
emperors themselves with impunity. And yet it is the truth, which is so troublesome to the 
world, that these philosophers affect, but which Christians possess: they therefore who have 
it in possession afford the greater displeasure, because he who affects a thing plays with it; 
he who possesses it maintains it. For example , 509 Socrates was condemned on that side (of 
his wisdom) in which he came nearest in his search to the truth, by destroying your gods. 
Although the name of Christian was not at that time in the world, yet truth was always suf- 
fering condemnation. Now you will not deny that he was a wise man, to whom your own 
Pythian (god) had borne witness. Socrates, he said, was the wisest of men. Truth overbore 
Apollo, and made him pronounce even against himself since he acknowledged that he was 
no god, when he affirmed that that was the wisest man who was denying the gods. How- 


502 

See The Apology, c. iii. 

503 

Plectitur. 

504 

Tradux. 

505 

Retinere. 

506 

At nunc. 

507 

Elatrent. 

508 

Libertatem suam, “their liberty of speech. 

509 

Denique. 


229 



The Truth Hated in the Christians; So in Measure Was It, of Old, in Socrates.... 


ever , 510 on your principle he was the less wise because he denied the gods, although, in 
truth, he was all the wiser by reason of this denial. It is just in the same way that you are in 
the habit of saying of us: “Lucius Titius is a good man, only he is a Christian;” while another 
says; “I wonder that so worthy 511 a man as Caius Seius has become a Christian .” 512 According 

CIO 

to the blindness of their folly men praise what they know, (and) blame what they are ig- 
norant of; and that which they know, they vitiate by that which they do not know. It occurs 
to none (to consider) whether a man is not good and wise because he is a Christian, or 
therefore a Christian because he is wise and good, although it is more usual in human conduct 
to determine obscurities by what is manifest, than to prejudice what is manifest by what is 
obscure. Some persons wonder that those whom they had known to be unsteady, worthless, 
or wicked before they bore this 514 name, have been suddenly converted to virtuous courses; 
and yet they better know how to wonder (at the change) than to attain to it; others are so 
obstinate in their strife as to do battle with their own best interests, which they have it in 
their power to secure by intercourse 515 with that hated name. I know more than one 516 
husband, formerly anxious about their wives’ conduct, and unable to bear even mice to 
creep into their bed-room without a groan of suspicion, who have, upon discovering the 
cause of their new assiduity, and their unwonted attention to the duties of home , 517 offered 

CIO 

the entire loan of their wives to others, disclaimed all jealousy, (and) preferred to be the 

husbands of she-wolves than of Christian women: they could commit themselves to a perverse 
abuse of nature, but they could not permit their wives to be reformed for the better! A 
father disinherited his son, with whom he had ceased to find fault. A master sent his slave 
to bridewell , 519 whom he had even found to be indispensable to him. As soon as they dis- 
covered them to be Christians, they wished they were criminals again; for our discipline 
carries its own evidence in itself, nor are we betrayed by anything else than our own goodness, 

con 

just as bad men also become conspicuous by their own evil. Else how is it that we alone 
are, contrary to the lessons of nature, branded as very evil because of our good? For what 


510 Porro. 

511 Gravem, “earnest.” 

512 Comp. The Apology, c. iii. 

513 Pro. 

514 i.e., the Christian. 

515 De commercio. 

516 Unum atque alium. The sense being plural, we have so given it all through. 

517 Captivitatis (as if theirs was a self-inflicted captivity at home). 

518 Omnem uxorem patientiam obtulisse (comp. Apology, middle of c. xxxix.). 

519 In ergastulum. 

520 Radiant. 


230 



The Truth Hated in the Christians; So in Measure Was It, of Old, in Socrates.... 


mark do we exhibit except the prime wisdom, which teaches us not to worship the 
frivolous works of the human hand; the temperance, by which we abstain from other men’s 
goods; the chastity, which we pollute not even with a look; the compassion, which prompts 
us to help the needy; the truth itself, which makes us give offence; and liberty, for which we 
have even learned to die? Whoever wishes to understand who the Christians are, must needs 
employ these marks for their discovery. 


521 He means the religion of Christ, which he in b. ii. c. ii. contrasts with “the mere wisdom” of the philosophers. 

231 



The Inconsistent Life of Any False Christian No More Condemns True Disciples... 


Chapter V. 522 — The Inconsistent Life of Any False Christian No More Condemns 1 is. 

True Disciples of Christ, Than a Passing Cloud Obscures a Summer Sky. 113 

As to your saying of us that we are a most shameful set, and utterly steeped in luxury, 
avarice, and depravity, we will not deny that this is true of some. It is, however, a sufficient 
testimonial for our name, that this cannot be said of all, not even of the greater part of us. 

It must happen even in the healthiest and purest body, that a mole should grow, or a wart 
arise on it, or freckles disfigure it. Not even the sky itself is clear with so perfect a serenity 
as not to be flecked with some filmy cloud. 524 A slight spot on the face, because it is obvious 
in so conspicuous a part, only serves to show purity of the entire complexion. The goodness 
of the larger portion is well attested by the slender flaw. But although you prove that some 
of our people are evil, you do not hereby prove that they are Christians. Search and see 

179 c 

whether there is any sect to which (a partial shortcoming) is imputed as a general stain. 

You are accustomed in conversation yourselves to say, in disparagement of us, “Why is so- 
and-so deceitful, when the Christians are so self-denying? why merciless, when they are so 
merciful?” You thus bear your testimony to the fact that this is not the character of Christians, 
when you ask, in the way of a retort, " how men who are reputed to be Christians can be 
of such and such a disposition. There is a good deal of difference between an imputation 
and a name, between an opinion and the truth. For names were appointed for the express 

179 o 

purpose of setting their proper limits between mere designation and actual condition. 

How many indeed are said to be philosophers, who for all that do not fulfil the law of 
philosophy? All bear the name in respect of their profession; but they hold the designation 
without the excellence of the profession, and they disgrace the real thing under the shallow 
pretence of its name. Men are not straightway of such and such a character, because they 
are said to be so; but when they are not, it is vain to say so of them: they only deceive people 
who attach reality to a name, when it is its consistency with fact which decides the condition 
implied in the name. And yet persons of this doubtful stamp do not assemble with us, 
neither do they belong to our communion: by their delinquency they become yours once 
more since we should be unwilling to mix even with them whom your violence and 


522 Compare The Apology, cc. ii. xliv. xlvi. 

523 Colata, “filtered” [or “strained” — Shaks.] 

524 Ut non alicujus nubiculae flocculo resignetur. This picturesque language defies translation. 

525 Malitise. 

526 Dum retorquetis. 

527 Inter crimen et nomen. 

528 Inter dici et esse. 

529 Status nominis. 

530 Denuo. 


232 



The Inconsistent Life of Any False Christian No More Condemns True Disciples... 


cruelty compelled to recant. Yet we should, of course, be more ready to have included 
amongst us those who have unwillingly forsaken our discipline than wilful apostates. 
However, you have no right to call them Christians, to whom the Christians themselves 
deny that name, and who have not learned to deny themselves. 


233 



The Innocence of the Christians Not Compromised by the Iniquitous Laws Which... 


Chapter VI. 531 — The Innocence of the Christians Not Compromised by the Iniquitous 
Laws Which Were Made Against Them. 

Whenever these statements and answers of ours, which truth suggests of its own accord, 
press and restrain your conscience, which is the witness of its own ignorance, you betake 

con 

yourselves in hot haste to that poor altar of refuge, the authority of the laws, because 
these, of course, would never punish the offensive 533 sect, if their deserts had not been fully 
considered by those who made the laws. Then what is it which has prevented a like consid- 
eration on the part of those who put the laws in force, when, in the case of all other crimes 
which are similarly forbidden and punished by the laws, the penalty is not inflicted 534 until 

roc CO/T 

it is sought by regular process? Take, for instance, the case of a murderer or an 

tZ'2'7 

adulterer. An examination is ordered touching the particulars of the crime, even though 

coo 

it is patent to all what its nature is. Whatever wrong has been done by the Christian ought 

to be brought to light. No law forbids inquiry to be made; on the contrary, inquiry is made 
in the interest of the laws. For how are you to keep the law by precautions against that 
which the law forbids, if you neutralize the carefulness of the precaution by your failing to 
perceive 540 what it is you have to keep? No law must keep to itself 541 the knowledge of its 
own righteousness , 542 but (it owes it) to those from whom it claims obedience. The law, 
however, becomes an object of suspicion when it declines to approve itself. Naturally 
enough , 543 then, are the laws against the Christians supposed to be just and deserving of 
respect and observance, just as long as men remain ignorant of their aim and purport; but 
when this is perceived, their extreme injustice is discovered, and they are deservedly rejected 
with abhorrence , 544 along with (their instruments of torture) — the swords, the crosses, and 


531 Compare The Apology, c. iv. 

532 Ad arulam quandam. 

533 Istam. 

534 Cessat, “loiters.” 

535 Requiratur. 

536 Lege. 

537 Ordo. 

538 Genus. 

539 Literally, “holding the inquiry makes for the laws.” 

540 Per defectionem agnoscendi. 

541 Sibi debet. 

542 Justitiae suae. 

543 Merito. 

544 Despuuntur. 


234 



The Innocence of the Christians Not Compromised by the Iniquitous Laws Which... 


the lions. An unjust law secures no respect. In my opinion, however, there is a suspicion 
among you that some of these laws are unjust, since not a day passes without your modifying 
their severity and iniquity by fresh deliberations and decisions. 


235 



The Christians Defamed. A Sarcastic Description of Fame; Its Deception... 


Chapter VII. 545 — The Christians Defamed. A Sarcastic Description of Fame; Its 

Deception and Atrocious Slanders of the Christians Lengthily Described. 

Whence comes it to pass, you will say to us, that such a character could have been attrib- 
uted to you, as to have justified the lawmakers perhaps by its imputation? Let me ask on my 
side, what voucher they had then, or you now, for the truth of the imputation? (You answer,) 
Fame. Well, now, is not this — 

“Fama malum, quo non aliud velocius ullum ?” 546 

Now, why a plague , 547 if it be always true? It never ceases from lying; nor even at the 
moment when it reports the truth is it so free from the wish to lie, as not to interweave the 
false with the true, by processes of addition, diminution, or confusion of various facts. In- 
deed, such is its condition, that it can only continue to exist while it lies. For it lives only 
just so long as it fails to prove anything. As soon as it proves itself true, it falls; and, as if its 
office of reporting news were at an end, it quits its post: thenceforward the thing is held to 
be a fact, and it passes under that name. No one, then, says, to take an instance, “The report 
is that this happened at Rome,” or, “The rumour goes that he has got a province;” but, “He 
has got a province,” and, “This happened at Rome.” Nobody mentions a rumour except at 
an uncertainty, because nobody can be sure of a rumour, but only of certain knowledge; 
and none but a fool believes a rumour, because no wise man puts faith in an uncertainty. 
In however wide a circuit 549 a report has been circulated, it must needs have originated 
some time or other from one mouth; afterwards it creeps on somehow to ears and tongues 
which pass it on 550 and so obscures the humble error in which it began, that no one considers 
whether the mouth which first set it a-going disseminated a falsehood, — a circumstance 
which often happens either from a temper of rivalry, or a suspicious turn, or even the 
pleasure of feigning news. It is, however, well that time reveals all things, as your own sayings 
and proverbs testify; yea, as nature herself attests, which has so ordered it that nothing lies 
hid, not even that which fame has not reported. See, now, what a witness 551 you have sub- 
orned against us: it has not been able up to this time to prove the report it set in motion, 
although it has had so long a time to recommend it to our acceptance. This name of ours 
took its rise in the reign of Augustus; under Tiberius it was taught with all clearness and 


545 Comp. The Apology, cc. vii, viii. 

546 Atneid. iv. 174. “Fame, than which never plague that runs Its way more swiftly wins.” — Conington. 

547 “A plague” = malum. 

548 Quid? quod “Yea more.” 

549 Ambitione. 

550 Traduces. 

551 Prodigiam. The word is “indicem” in The Apology. 


236 



The Christians Defamed. A Sarcastic Description of Fame; Its Deception... 


rn cco 

publicity; under Nero it was ruthlessly condemned, and you may weigh its worth and 

character even from the person of its persecutor. If that prince was a pious man, then the 
Christians are impious; if he was just, if he was pure, then the Christians are unjust and 
impure; if he was not a public enemy, we are enemies of our country: what sort of men we 
are, our persecutor himself shows, since he of course punished what produced hostility to 
himself . 554 Now, although every other institution which existed under Nero has been des- 
troyed, yet this of ours has firmly remained — righteous, it would seem, as being unlike the 
author (of its persecution). Two hundred and fifty years, then, have not yet passed since our 
life began. During the interval there have been so many criminals; so many crosses have 
obtained immortality ; 555 so many infants have been slain; so many loaves steeped in blood; 
so many extinctions of candles ; 556 so many dissolute marriages. And up to the present time 
it is mere report which fights against the Christians. No doubt it has a strong support in the 
wickedness of the human mind, and utters its falsehoods with more success among cruel 
and savage men. For the more inclined you are to maliciousness, the more ready are you to 
believe evil; in short, men more easily believe the evil that is false, than the good which is 
true. Now, if injustice has left any place within you for the exercise of prudence in investig- 
ating the truth of reports, justice of course demanded that you should examine by whom 
the report could have been spread among the multitude, and thus circulated through the 
world. For it could not have been by the Christians themselves, I suppose, since by the very 
constitution and law of all mysteries the obligation of silence is imposed. How much more 
would this be the case in such (mysteries as are ascribed to us), which, if divulged, could 
not fail to bring down instant punishment from the prompt resentment of men! Since, 
therefore, the Christians are not their own betrayers, it follows that it must be strangers. 
Now I ask, how could strangers obtain knowledge of us, when even true and lawful mysteries 
exclude every stranger from witnessing them, unless illicit ones are less exclusive? Well, 
then, it is more in keeping with the character of strangers both to be ignorant (of the true 
state of a case), and to invent (a false account). Our domestic servants (perhaps) listened, 
and peeped through crevices and holes, and stealthily got information of our ways. What, 

rrn rro 

then, shall we say when our servants betray them to you? It is better, (to be sure,) for 
us all not to be betrayed by any; but still, if our practices be so atrocious, how much more 


552 Disciplina ejus illuxit. 

553 Damnatio invaluit. 

554 TEmula sibi. 

555 Divinitatem consecutae. 

556 See above, c. ii. note. 

557 i.e., What is the value of such evidence? 

558 We have inserted this phrase as the sentence is strongly ironical. 


237 



The Christians Defamed. A Sarcastic Description of Fame; Its Deception... 


proper is it when a righteous indignation bursts asunder even all ties of domestic fidelity? 
How was it possible for it to endure what horrified the mind and affrighted the eye? This is 
also a wonderful thing, both that he who was so overcome with impatient excitement as to 
turn informer , 559 did not likewise desire to prove (what he reported), and that he who heard 
the informer’s story did not care to see for himself, since no doubt the reward 560 is equal 
both for the informer who proves what he reports, and for the hearer who convinces himself 
of the credibility 561 of what he hears. But then you say that (this is precisely what has taken 
place): first came the rumour, then the exhibition of the proof; first the hearsay, then the 
inspection; and after this, fame received its commission. Now this, I must say, " surpasses 
all admiration, that that was once for all detected and divulged which is being for ever re- 

rzro 

peated, unless, forsooth, we have by this time ceased from the reiteration of such things 
(as are alleged of us) . But we are called still by the same (offensive) name, and we are supposed 
to be still engaged in the same practices, and we multiply from day to day; the more 564 we 
are, to the more become we objects of hatred. Hatred increases as the material for it increases. 
Now, seeing that the multitude of offenders is ever advancing, how is it that the crowd of 
informers does not keep equal pace therewith? To the best of my belief, even our manner 
of life 565 has become better known; you know the very days of our assemblies; therefore we 
are both besieged, and attacked, and kept prisoners actually in our secret congregations. 
Yet who ever came upon a half-consumed corpse (amongst us)? Who has detected the traces 
of a bite in our blood-steeped loaf? Who has discovered, by a sudden light invading our 
darkness, any marks of impurity, I will not say of incest, (in our feasts)? If we save ourselves 
by a bribe 566 from being dragged out before the public gaze with such a character, how is 
it that we are still oppressed? We have it indeed in our own power not to be thus apprehended 
at all; for who either sells or buys information about a crime, if the crime itself has no exist- 

rrn 

ence? But why need I disparagingly refer to strange spies and informers, when you allege 
against us such charges as we certainly do not ourselves divulge with very much noise — either 
as soon as you hear of them, if we previously show them to you, or after you have yourselves 

C/TO 

discovered them, if they are for the time concealed from you? For no doubt, when any 


559 Deferre, an infinitive of purpose, of which construction of our author Oehler gives examples. 

560 Fructus. 

561 Si etiam sibi credat. 

562 Quidem. 

563 Talia factitare. 

564 We read “quo,” and not “quod,” because. 

565 Conversatio. 

566 This refers to a calumny which the heathen frequently spread about the Christians. 

567 Detrectem or simply “treat of,” “refer to,” like the simple verb “tractare.” 

568 The irony of all this passage is evident. 


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The Christians Defamed. A Sarcastic Description of Fame; Its Deception... 


desire initiation in the mysteries, their custom is first to go to the master or father of the 
sacred rites. Then he will say (to the applicant), You must bring an infant, as a guarantee 
for our rites, to be sacrificed, as well as some bread to be broken and dipped in his blood; 
you also want candles, and dogs tied together to upset them, and bits of meat to rouse the 
dogs. Moreover, a mother too, or a sister, is necessary for you. What, however, is to be said 
if you have neither? I suppose in that case you could not be a genuine Christian. Now, do 
let me ask you, Will such things, when reported by strangers, bear to be spread about (as 
charges against us)? It is impossible for such persons to understand proceedings in which 
they take no part . 569 The first step of the process is perpetrated with artifice; our feasts and 
our marriages are invented and detailed by ignorant persons, who had never before heard 

about Christian mysteries. And though they afterwards cannot help acquiring some know- 
ledge of them, it is even then as having to be administered by others whom they bring on 

cn i 

the scene. Besides, how absurd is it that the profane know mysteries which the priest 
knows not! They keep them all to themselves, then, and take them for granted; and so 
these tragedies, (worse than those) of Thyestes or CEdipus, do not at all come forth to light, 

tZ'7'2 

nor find their way to the public. Even more voracious bites take nothing away from the 
credit 574 of such as are initiated, whether servants or masters. If, however, none of these 
allegations can be proved to be true, how incalculable must be esteemed the grandeur (of 
that religion) which is manifestly not overbalanced even by the burden of these vast atrocities! 

rnr 

O ye heathen; who have and deserve our pity, behold, we set before you the promise 
which our sacred system offers. It guarantees eternal life to such as follow and observe it; 
on the other hand, it threatens with the eternal punishment of an unending fire those who 
are profane and hostile; while to both classes alike is preached a resurrection from the dead. 
We are not now concerned about the doctrine of these (verities), which are discussed in 


569 Diversum opus. 

570 Subjiciuntur “are stealthily narrated.” 

571 Inducunt. 

572 It is difficult to see what this “tacent igitur” means without referring to the similar passage in The Apology 
(end of c. viii.), which supplies a link wanted in the context. “At all events,” says he, “they know this afterward, 
and yet submit to it, and allow it. They fear to be punished, while, if they proclaimed the truth, they would deserve 
universal approbation.” Tertullian here states what the enemies of the Christians used to allege against them. 
After discovering the alleged atrocities of their secret assemblies, they kept their knowledge forsooth to themselves, 
being afraid of the consequences of a disclosure, etc. 

573 We have for convenience treated “protrahunt” (q.d. “nor do they report them”) as a neuter verb. 

574 Even worse than Thyestean atrocities would be believed of them. 

575 Miserae atque miserandae. 

576 Viderimus. 


239 



The Christians Defamed. A Sarcastic Description of Fame; Its Deception... 


r 77 

their proper place. Meanwhile, however, believe them, even as we do ourselves, for I want 
to know whether you are ready to reach them, as we do, through such crimes. Come, who- 
soever you are, plunge your sword into an infant; or if that is another’s office, then simply 
gaze at the breathing creature dying before it has lived; at any rate, catch its fresh blood 
in which to steep your bread; then feed yourself without stint; and whilst this is going on, 
recline. Carefully distinguish the places where your mother or your sister may have made 
their bed; mark them well, in order that, when the shades of night have fallen upon them, 
putting of course to the test the care of every one of you, you may not make the awkward 

coo 

mistake of alighting on somebody else: you would have to make an atonement, if you 

failed of the incest. When you have effected all this, eternal life will be in store for you. I 

co 1 

want you to tell me whether you think eternal life worth such a price. No, indeed, you 
do not believe it: even if you did believe it, I maintain that you would be unwilling to give 
(the fee); or if willing, would be unable. But why should others be able if you are unable? 
Why should you be able if others are unable? What would you wish impunity (and) eternity 

coo 

to stand you in? Do you suppose that these (blessings) can be bought by us at any price? 

r no 

Have Christians teeth of a different sort from others? Have they more ample jaws? Are 
they of different nerve for incestuous lust? I trow not. It is enough for us to differ from you 
in condition by truth alone. 


577 See below, in c. xix. 

578 Animam. 

579 Rudem, “hardly formed.” 

580 Extraneam. 

581 Immoidcirco. 

582 Quanto constare. 

583 “An alii ordines dentium Christianorum, et alii specus faucium?” (literally, “Have Christians other sets 
of teeth, and other caverns of jaws?”) This seems to refer to voracious animals like the shark, whose terrible 
teeth, lying in several rows, and greediness to swallow anything, however incongruous, that comes in its way, 
are well-known facts in natural history. 

584 Positione. 


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The Calumny Against the Christians Illustrated in the Discovery of Psammetichus.... 


Chapter VIII. 585 — The Calumny Against the Christians Illustrated in the Discovery 

of Psammetichus. Refutation of the Story. 

ror 

We are indeed said to be the “third race” of men. What, a dog-faced race? Or broadly 

shadow-footed? Or some subterranean Antipodes? If you attach any meaning to these 

names, pray tell us what are the first and the second race, that so we may know something 
of this “third.” Psammetichus thought that he had hit upon the ingenious discovery of the 
primeval man. He is said to have removed certain new-born infants from all human inter- 
course, and to have entrusted them to a nurse, whom he had previously deprived of her 
tongue, in order that, being completely exiled from all sound of the human voice, they might 
form their speech without hearing it; and thus, deriving it from themselves alone, might 
indicate what that first nation was whose speech was dictated by nature. Their first utterance 
was Bekkos, a word which means “bread” in the language of Phrygia: the Phrygians, therefore, 
are supposed to be the first of the human race. But it will not be out of place if we make 

one observation, with a view to show how your faith abandons itself more to vanities than 
to verities. Can it be, then, at all credible that the nurse retained her life, after the loss of so 
important a member, the very organ of the breath of life, 590 — cut out, too, from the very 
root, with her throat 591 mutilated, which cannot be wounded even on the outside without 
danger, and the putrid gore flowing back to the chest, and deprived for so long a time of 
her food? Come, even suppose that by the remedies of a Philomela she retained her life, in 
the way supposed by wisest persons, who account for the dumbness not by cutting out the 
tongue, but from the blush of shame; if on such a supposition she lived, she would still be 
able to blurt out some dull sound. And a shrill inarticulate noise from opening the mouth 
only, without any modulation of the lips, might be forced from the mere throat, though 
there were no tongue to help. This, it is probable, the infants readily imitated, and the more 

rno 

so because it was the only sound; only they did it a little more neatly, as they had tongues; 
and then they attached to it a definite signification. Granted, then, that the Phrygians were 
the earliest race, it does not follow that the Christians are the third. For how many other 
nations come regularly after the Phrygians? Take care, however, lest those whom you call 


585 Compare The Apology, c. viii. 

586 Cynopae. This class would furnish the unnatural “teeth,” and “jaws,” just referred to. 

587 Sciapodes with broad feet producing a large shade; suited for the “incestuous lust” above mentioned. 

588 Literally, “which come up from under ground.” 

589 Tertullian got this story from Herodotus, ii. 2. 

590 Ipsius animse organo. 

591 Faucibus. 

592 Utpote linguatuli. 


241 



The Calumny Against the Christians Illustrated in the Discovery of Psammetichus. . . . 


the third race should obtain the first rank, since there is no nation indeed which is not 
Christian. Whatever nation, therefore, was the first, is nevertheless Christian now. ' It is 
ridiculous folly which makes you say we are the latest race, and then specifically call us the 
third. But it is in respect of our religion , 594 not of our nation, that we are supposed to be 
the third; the series being the Romans, the Jews, and the Christians after them. Where, then, 
are the Greeks? or if they are reckoned amongst the Romans in regard to their superstition 
(since it was from Greece that Rome borrowed even her gods), where at least are the Egyp- 
tians, since these have, so far as I know, a mysterious religion peculiar to themselves? Now, 
if they who belong to the third race are so monstrous, what must they be supposed to be 
who preceded them in the first and the second place? 


593 This is one of the passages which incidentally show how widely spread was Christianity. 

594 De Superstitione. 


242 



The Christians are Not the Cause of Public Calamities: There Were Such Troubles... 


Chapter IX. 595 — The Christians are Not the Cause of Public Calamities: There Were 

Such Troubles Before Christianity. 

But why should I be astonished at your vain imputations? Under the same natural form, 
malice and folly have always been associated in one body and growth, and have ever opposed 
us under the one instigator of error . 596 Indeed, I feel no astonishment; and therefore, as it 
is necessary for my subject, I will enumerate some instances, that you may feel the astonish- 
ment by the enumeration of the folly into which you fall, when you insist on our being the 
causes of every public calamity or injury. If the Tiber has overflowed its banks, if the Nile 

CQ7 

has remained in its bed, if the sky has been still, or the earth been in commotion, if death 
has made its devastations, or famine its afflictions, your cry immediately is, “This is the 

CQO 

fault of the Christians!” As if they who fear the true God could have to fear a light thing, 
or at least anything else (than an earthquake or famine, or such visitations ). 599 I suppose it 
is as despisers of your gods that we call down on us these strokes of theirs. As we have re- 
marked already , 600 three hundred years have not yet passed in our existence; but what vast 
scourges before that time fell on all the world, on its various cities and provinces! what terrible 
wars, both foreign and domestic! what pestilences, famines, conflagrations, yawnings, and 
quakings of the earth has history recorded ! 601 Where were the Christians, then, when the 
Roman state furnished so many chronicles of its disasters? Where were the Christians when 
the islands Hiera, Anaphe, and Delos, and Rhodes, and Cea were desolated with multitudes 
of men? or, again, when the land mentioned by Plato as larger than Asia or Africa was sunk 
in the Atlantic Sea? or when fire from heaven overwhelmed Volsinii, and flames from their 
own mountain consumed Pompeii? when the sea of Corinth was engulphed by an earthquake? 
when the whole world was destroyed by the deluge? Where then were (I will not say the 
Christians, who despise your gods, but) your gods themselves, who are proved to be of later 
origin than that great ruin by the very places and cities in which they were born, sojourned, 
and were buried, and even those which they founded? For else they would not have remained 
to the present day, unless they had been more recent than that catastrophe. If you do not 


595 Comp. The Apology, cc. xl. xli. [And Augustine, Civ. Dei. iii.] 

596 By the “manceps erroris” he means the devil. 

597 Libitina. 

598 Christianorum meritum, which with “sit” may also, “Let the Christians have their due.” In The Apology 
the cry is, “Christianos ad leonem.” 

599 We insert this after Oehler. Tertullian’s words are, “Quasi modicum habeant aut aliud metuere qui Deum 
verum.” 


600 See above, c. vii. 

601 Steculum digessit. 


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The Christians are Not the Cause of Public Calamities: There Were Such Troubles... 


care to peruse and reflect upon these testimonies of history, the record of which affects you 
differently from us, in order especially that you may not have to tax your gods with ex- 
treme injustice, since they injure even their worshippers on account of their despisers, do 
you not then prove yourselves to be also in the wrong, when you hold them to be gods, who 
make no distinction between the deserts of yourselves and profane persons? If, however, as 
it is now and then very vainly said, you incur the chastisement of your gods because you 

CAT 

are too slack in our extirpation, you then have settled the question of their weakness and 
insignificance; for they would not be angry with you for loitering over our punishment, if 
they could do anything themselves, — although you admit the same thing indeed in another 
way, whenever by inflicting punishment on us you seem to be avenging them. If one interest 
is maintained by another party, that which defends is the greater of the two. What a shame, 
then, must it be for gods to be defended by a human being! 


602 Aliter vobis renuntiata. 

603 Absolutum est. 


244 



The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them... 


Chapter X. 604 — The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt 

of Them Often Displayed by Heathen Official Persons. Homer Made the Gods 
Contemptible. 

Pour out now all your venom; fling against this name of ours all your shafts of calumny: 
I shall stay no longer to refute them; but they shall by and by be blunted, when we come to 
explain our entire discipline. 605 1 shall content myself now indeed with plucking these shafts 
out of our own body, and hurling them back on yourselves. The same wounds which you 
have inflicted on us by your charges I shall show to be imprinted on yourselves, that you 
may fall by your own swords and javelins. 606 Now, first, when you direct against us the 
general charge of divorcing ourselves from the institutions of our forefathers, consider again 
and again whether you are not yourselves open to that accusation in common with us. For 
when I look through your life and customs, lo, what do I discover but the old order of things 
corrupted, nay, destroyed by you? Of the laws I have already said, that you are daily sup- 
planting them with novel decrees and statutes. As to everything else in your manner of life, 
how great are the changes you have made from your ancestors — in your style, your dress, 
your equipage, your very food, and even in your speech; for the old-fashioned you banish, 
as if it were offensive to you! Everywhere, in your public pursuits and private duties, antiquity 
is repealed; all the authority of your forefathers your own authority has superseded. To be 
sure, you are for ever praising old customs; but this is only to your greater discredit, for 
you nevertheless persistently reject them. How great must your perverseness have been, to 
have bestowed approbation on your ancestors’ institutions, which were too inefficient to 
be lasting, all the while that you were rejecting the very objects of your approbation! But 
even that very heir-loom of your forefathers, which you seem to guard and defend with 
greatest fidelity, in which you actually 609 find your strongest grounds for impeaching us as 
violators of the law, and from which your hatred of the Christian name derives all its life — I 
mean the worship of the gods — I shall prove to be undergoing ruin and contempt from 
yourselves no less than 610 (from us), — unless it be that there is no reason for our being re- 
garded as despisers of the gods like yourselves, on the ground that nobody despises what 
he knows has absolutely no existence. What certainly exists can be despised. That which 


604 Comp. The Apology, cc. xii. xiii. xiv. xv. 

605 See The Apology (passim), especially cc. xvi.-xxiv., xxx.-xxxvi., and xxxix. 

606 Admentationibus. 

607 Plane. 

608 Traditum. 

609 Vel. 

610 Perinde a vobis. 


245 



The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them... 


is nothing, suffers nothing. From those, therefore, to whom it is an existing thing , 611 must 
necessarily proceed the suffering which affects it. All the heavier, then, is the accusation 
which burdens you who believe that there are gods and (at the same time) despise them, 
who worship and also reject them, who honour and also assail them. One may also gather 
the same conclusion from this consideration, above all: since you worship various gods, 
some one and some another, you of course despise those which you do not worship. A 
preference for the one is not possible without slighting the other, and no choice can be made 
without a rejection. He who selects some one out of many, has already slighted the other 
which he does not select. But it is impossible that so many and so great gods can be wor- 
shipped by all. Then you must have exercised your contempt (in this matter) even at the 
beginning, since indeed you were not then afraid of so ordering things, that all the gods 
could not become objects of worship to all. For those very wise and prudent ancestors of 
yours, whose institutions you know not how to repeal, especially in respect of your gods, 
are themselves found to have been impious. I am much mistaken, if they did not sometimes 
decree that no general should dedicate a temple, which he may have vowed in battle, before 
the senate gave its sanction; as in the case of Marcus /Emilius, who had made a vow to the 
god Alburnus. Now is it not confessedly the greatest impiety, nay, the greatest insult, to 
place the honour of the Deity at the will and pleasure of human judgment, so that there 

/r i 9 

cannot be a god except the senate permit him? Many times have the censors destroyed 
(a god) without consulting the people. Father Bacchus, with all his ritual, was certainly by 
the consuls, on the senate’s authority, cast not only out of the city, but out of all Italy; whilst 
Varro informs us that Serapis also, and Isis, and Arpocrates, and Anubis, were excluded 
from the Capitol, and that their altars which the senate had thrown down were only restored 
by the popular violence. The Consul Gabinius, however, on the first day of the ensuing 
January, although he gave a tardy consent to some sacrifices, in deference to the crowd 
which assembled, because he had failed to decide about Serapis and Isis, yet held the judgment 
of the senate to be more potent than the clamour of the multitude, and forbade the altars 
to be built. Here, then, you have amongst your own forefathers, if not the name, at all events 

/ri o 

the procedure, of the Christians, which despises the gods. If, however, you were even 
innocent of the charge of treason against them in the honour you pay them, I still find that 
you have made a consistent advance in superstition as well as impiety. For how much more 
irreligious are you found to be! There are your household gods, the Lares and the Penates, 
which you possess 614 by a family consecration : 615 you even tread them profanely under 


611 Quibus est. 

612 Adsolaverunt, “thrown to the ground;” “floored.” 

613 Sectam. [Rather — “A Christian secession.”] 

614 Perhibetis. 

Domestica consecratione, i.e., “for family worship.” 


615 


246 



The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them... 


foot, you and your domestics, by hawking and pawning them for your wants or your whims. 
Such insolent sacrilege might be excusable, if it were not practised against your humbler 
deities; as it is, the case is only the more insolent. There is, however, some consolation for 
your private household gods under these affronts, that you treat your public deities with 
still greater indignity and insolence. First of all, you advertise them for auction, submit them 
to public sale, knock them down to the highest bidder, when you every five years bring them 
to the hammer among your revenues. For this purpose you frequent the temple of Serapis 
or the Capitol, hold your sales there , 616 conclude your contracts , 617 as if they were markets, 
with the well-known 618 voice of the crier, (and) the self-same levy 619 of the quaestor. Now 
lands become cheaper when burdened with tribute, and men by the capitation tax diminish 
in value (these are the well-known marks of slavery). But the gods, the more tribute they 
pay, become more holy; or rather, “ the more holy they are, the more tribute do they pay. 
Their majesty is converted into an article of traffic; men drive a business with their religion; 
the sanctity of the gods is beggared with sales and contracts. You make merchandise of the 
ground of your temples, of the approach to your altars, of your offerings , 621 of your sacri- 
flees. You sell the whole divinity (of your gods). You will not permit their gratuitous 
worship. The auctioneers necessitate more repairs than the priests. 

It was not enough that you had insolently made a profit of your gods, if we would test 
the amount of your contempt; and you are not content to have withheld honour from them, 
you must also depreciate the little you do render to them by some indignity or other. What, 
indeed, do you do by way of honouring your gods, which you do not equally offer to your 
dead? You build temples for the gods, you erect temples also to the dead; you build altars 
for the gods, you build them also for the dead; you inscribe the same superscription over 
both; you sketch out the same lineaments for their statues — as best suits their genius, or 
profession, or age; you make an old man of Saturn, a beardless youth of Apollo; you form 
a virgin from Diana; in Mars you consecrate a soldier, a blacksmith in Vulcan. No wonder, 
therefore, if you slay the same victims and burn the same odours for your dead as you do 
for your gods. What excuse can be found for that insolence which classes the dead of whatever 
sort 624 as equal with the gods? Even to your princes there are assigned the services of priests 


616 Addicitur. 

617 Conducitur. 

618 Eadem. 

619 Exactione, “as excise duty for the treasury.” 

620 Immo. 

621 “In money,” stipibus. 

622 “ Victims. ” 

623 Plus reflgitur. 

624 Utut mortuos. 


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The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them... 


and sacred ceremonies, and chariots, and cars, and the honours of the solisternia and the 

lectisternia, holidays and games. Rightly enough, " since heaven is open to them; still it is 
none the less contumelious to the gods: in the first place, because it could not possibly be 
decent that other beings should be numbered with them, even if it has been given to them 
to become divine after their birth; in the second place, because the witness who beheld the 
man caught up into heaven would not forswear himself so freely and palpably before the 
people, if it were not for the contempt felt about the objects sworn to both by himself and 
those who allow the perjury. For these feel of themselves, that what is sworn to is nothing; 
and more than that, they go so far as to fee the witness, because he had the courage to publicly 
despise the avengers of perjury. Now, as to that, who among you is pure of the charge of 
perjury? By this time, indeed, there is an end to all danger in swearing by the gods, since 
the oath by Caesar carries with it more influential scruples, which very circumstance indeed 
tends to the degradation of your gods; for those who perjure themselves when swearing by 
Caesar are more readily punished than those who violate an oath to a Jupiter. But, of the 
two kindred feelings of contempt and derision, contempt is the more honourable, having 
a certain glory in its arrogance; for it sometimes proceeds from confidence, or the security 
of consciousness, or a natural loftiness of mind. Derision, however, is a more wanton feeling, 
and so far it points more directly to a carping insolence. Now only consider what great 
deriders of your gods you show yourselves to be! I say nothing of your indulgence of this 
feeling during your sacrificial acts, how you offer for your victims the poorest and most 
emaciated creatures; or else of the sound and healthy animals only the portions which are 
useless for food, such as the heads and hoofs, or the plucked feathers and hair, and whatever 

cm 

at home you would have thrown away. I pass over whatever may seem to the taste of the 

/TO I 

vulgar and profane to have constituted the religion of your forefathers; but then the most 

learned and serious classes (for seriousness and wisdom to some extent “ profess ' to be 
derived from learning) are always, in fact, the most irreverent towards your gods; and if 
their learning ever halts, it is only to make up for the remissness by a more shameful invention 


625 Tensae. 

626 Plane. 

627 Rigaltius has the name Proculus in his text; but Tertullian refers not merely to that case but to a usual 
functionary, necessary in all cases of deification. 

628 Oehler reads “ei” (of course for “ii”); Rigalt. reads “ii.” 

629 Denotatior ad. 

630 Gulae, “Depraved taste.” 

631 Prope religionem convenire, “to have approximated to.” 

632 Quatenus. 

633 Credunt, one would expect “creduntur” (“are supposed”), which is actually read by Gothofredus. 


248 



The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them... 


of follies and falsehoods about their gods. I will begin with that enthusiastic fondness which 
you show for him from whom every depraved writer gets his dreams, to whom you ascribe 
as much honour as you derogate from your gods, by magnifying him who has made such 
sport of them. I mean Homer by this description. He it is, in my opinion, who has treated 
the majesty of the Divine Being on the low level of human condition, imbuing the gods with 
the falls 634 and the passions of men; who has pitted them against each other with varying 
success, like pairs of gladiators: he wounds Venus with an arrow from a human hand; he 

/ro r 

keeps Mars a prisoner in chains for thirteen months, with the prospect of perishing; he 
parades Jupiter as suffering a like indignity from a crowd of celestial (rebels;) or he draws 

from him tears for Sarpedon; or he represents him wantoning with Juno in the most dis- 
graceful way, advocating his incestuous passion for her by a description and enumeration 
of his various amours. Since then, which of the poets has not, on the authority of their great 
prince, calumniated the gods, by either betraying truth or feigning falsehood? Have the 

/ro n 

dramatists also, whether in tragedy or comedy, refrained from making the gods the authors 
of the calamities and retributions (of their plays)? I say nothing of your philosophers, whom 
a certain inspiration of truth itself elevates against the gods, and secures from all fear in their 

/TOO 

proud severity and stern discipline. Take, for example, Socrates. In contempt of your 
gods, he swears by an oak, and a dog, and a goat. Now, although he was condemned to die 
for this very reason, the Athenians afterwards repented of that condemnation, and even put 
to death his accusers. By this conduct of theirs the testimony of Socrates is replaced at its 
full value, and I am enabled to meet you with this retort, that in his case you have approbation 
bestowed on that which is now-a-days reprobated in us. But besides this instance there is 
Diogenes, who, I know not to what extent, made sport of Hercules; whilst Varro, that Dio- 

/roQ 

genes of the Roman cut, ' introduces to our view some three hundred Joves, or, as they 
ought to be called, Jupiters , 640 (and all) without heads. Your other wanton wits 641 likewise 
minister to your pleasures by disgracing the gods. Examine carefully the sacrilegious 642 
beauties of your Lentuli and Hostii; now, is it the players or your gods who become the objects 
of your mirth in their tricks and jokes? Then, again, with what pleasure do you take up the 


634 Or, “circumstances” (casibus). 

635 Fortasse periturum. 

636 Traducit, perhaps “degrades.” 

637 Ut dei praefarentur. Oehler explains the verb “praefari” to mean “auctorem esse et tanquam caput.” 

638 Denique. 

639 Stili. 

640 Tertullian gives the comic plural “Juppiteres.” 

641 Ingenia. 

642 Because appropriating to themselves the admiration which was due to the gods. 


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The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them... 


literature of the stage, which describes all the foul conduct of the gods ! Their maj esty is defiled 
in your presence in some unchaste body. The mask of some deity, at your will , 643 covers 
some infamous paltry head. The Sun mourns for the death of his son by a lightning-flash 
amid your rude rejoicing. Cybele sighs for a shepherd who disdains her, without raising a 
blush on your cheek; and you quietly endure songs which celebrate 644 the gallantries of 
Jove. You are, of course, possessed of a more religious spirit in the show of your gladiators, 
when your gods dance, with equal zest, over the spilling of human blood, (and) over those 
filthy penalties which are at once their proof and plot for executing your criminals, or else 
(when) your criminals are punished personating the gods themselves . 645 We have often 
witnessed in a mutilated criminal your god of Pessinum, Attis; a wretch burnt alive has 
personated Hercules. We have laughed at the sport of your mid-day game of the gods, when 
Father Pluto, Jove’s own brother, drags away, hammer in hand, the remains of the gladiators; 
when Mercury, with his winged cap and heated wand, tests with his cautery whether the 
bodies were really lifeless, or only feigning death. Who now can investigate every particular 
of this sort although so destructive of the honour of the Divine Being, and so humiliating 
to His majesty? They all, indeed, have their origin 646 in a contempt (of the gods), on the 
part both of those who practise 647 these personations, as well as of those 648 who are suscept- 
ible of being so represented . 649 I hardly know, therefore, whether your gods have more 
reason to complain of yourselves or of us. After despising them on the one hand, you flatter 


643 Cujuslibet dei. 

644 Sustinetis modulari. 

645 It is best to add the original of this almost unintelligible passage: “Plane religiosiores estis in gladiatorum 
cavea, ubi super sanguinem humanum, supra inquinamenta poenarum proinde saltant dei vestri argumenta et 
historias nocentibus erogandis, aut in ipsis deis nocentes puniuntur.” Some little light may be derived from the 
parallel passage of the Apology (c. xv.), which is expressed somewhat less obscurely. Instead of the words in italics, 
Tertullian there substitutes these: “Argumenta et historias noxiis ministrantes, nisi quod et ipsos deos vestros 
saepe noxii induunt” — “whilst furnishing the proofs and the plots for (executing) criminals, only that the said 
criminals often act the part of your gods themselves.” Oehler refers, in illustration of the last clause, to the instance 
of the notorious robber Laureolus, who personated Prometheus; others, again, personated Laureolus himself: 
some criminals had to play the part of Orpheus; others of Mutius Scaevola. It will be observed that these executions 
were with infamous perverseness set off with scenic show, wherein the criminal enacted some violent death in 
yielding up his own life. The indignant irony of the whole passage, led off by the “plane religiosiores estis,” is 
evident. 

646 Censentur. 

647 Factitant. 

648 i.e., the gods themselves. 

649 Redimitis. 


250 



The Christians are Not the Only Contemners of the Gods. Contempt of Them... 


them on the other; if you fail in any duty towards them, you appease them with a fee ; 650 in 
short, you allow yourselves to act towards them in any way you please. We, however, live 
in a consistent and entire aversion to them. 


650 Redimitis. 


251 



The Absurd Cavil of the Ass's Head Disposed of. 


Chapter XI. 651 — The Absurd Cavil of the Ass’s Head Disposed of. 

In this matter we are (said to be) guilty not merely of forsaking the religion of the 
community, but of introducing a monstrous superstition; for some among you have dreamed 
that our god is an ass’s head, — an absurdity which Cornelius Tacitus first suggested. In the 
fourth book of his histories, where he is treating of the Jewish war, he begins his description 

with the origin of that nation, and gives his own views respecting both the origin and the 
name of their religion. He relates that the Jews, in their migration in the desert, when suffering 
for want of water, escaped by following for guides some wild asses, which they supposed to 
be going in quest of water after pasture, and that on this account the image of one of these 
animals was worshipped by the Jews. From this, I suppose, it was presumed that we, too, 
from our close connection with the Jewish religion, have ours consecrated under the same 
emblematic form. The same Cornelius Tacitus, however, — who, to say the truth, is most 
loquacious in falsehood — forgetting his later statement, relates how Pompey the Great, after 
conquering the Jews and capturing Jerusalem, entered the temple, but found nothing in the 
shape of an image, though he examined the place carefully. Where, then, should their God 
have been found? Nowhere else, of course, than in so memorable a temple which was carefully 
shut to all but the priests, and into which there could be no fear of a stranger entering. But 
what apology must I here offer for what I am going to say, when I have no other object at 
the moment than to make a passing remark or two in a general way which shall be equally 

/r n 

applicable to yourselves? Suppose that our God, then, be an asinine person, will you at 
all events deny that you possess the same characteristics with ourselves in that matter? (Not 
their heads only, but) entire asses, are, to be sure, objects of adoration to you, along with 
their tutelar Epona; and all herds, and cattle, and beasts you consecrate, and their stables 
into the bargain! This, perhaps, is your grievance against us, that, when surrounded by 
cattle-worshippers of every kind we are simply devoted to asses! 


651 Comp. The Apology, c. xvi. 

652 In The Apology (c. xvi.) the reference is to “the fifth book.” This is correct. Book v. c. 3, is meant. 
In vobis, for “in vos” ex pari transferendorum. 


653 


252 



The Charge of Worshipping a Cross. The Heathens Themselves Made Much of... 


Chapter XII. 654 — The Charge of Worshipping a Cross. The Heathens Themselves 
Made Much of Crosses in Sacred Things; Nay, Their Very Idols Were Formed 
on a Crucial Frame. 

As for him who affirms that we are “the priesthood of a cross ,” 655 we shall claim him 656 

/r c'7 

as our co-religionist. A cross is, in its material, a sign of wood; amongst yourselves also 
the object of worship is a wooden figure. Only, whilst with you the figure is a human one, 

/r r o 

with us the wood is its own figure. Never mind for the present what is the shape, provided 

the material is the same: the form, too, is of no importance , 659 if so be it be the actual body 
of a god. If, however, there arises a question of difference on this point what, (let me ask,) 
is the difference between the Athenian Pallas, or the Pharian Ceres, and wood formed into 
a cross , 660 when each is represented by a rough stock, without form, and by the merest 
rudiment of a statue 661 of unformed wood? Every piece of timber 662 which is fixed in the 
ground in an erect position is a part of a cross, and indeed the greater portion of its mass. 
But an entire cross is attributed to us, with its transverse beam, of course, and its projecting 
seat. Now you have the less to excuse you, for you dedicate to religion only a mutilated im- 
perfect piece of wood, while others consecrate to the sacred purpose a complete structure. 
The truth, however, after all is, that your religion is all cross, as I shall show. You are indeed 
unaware that your gods in their origin have proceeded from this hated cross . 664 Now, every 
image, whether carved out of wood or stone, or molten in metal, or produced out of any 
other richer material, must needs have had plastic hands engaged in its formation. Well, 
then, this modeller , 665 before he did anything else , 666 hit upon the form of a wooden cross, 
because even our own body assumes as its natural position the latent and concealed outline 
of a cross. Since the head rises upwards, and the back takes a straight direction, and the 


654 Comp. The Apology, c. xvi. 

655 Crucis antistites. 

656 Erit. 

657 Consacraneus. 

658 Viderint. 

659 Viderit. 

660 Stipite crucis. 

661 Solo staticulo. The use of wood in the construction of an idol is mentioned afterward. 

662 Omne robur. 

663 Antemna. See our Anti-Marcion, p. 156. Ed. Edinburgh. 

664 De isto patibulo. 

665 Plasta. 

666 In primo. 


253 



The Charge of Worshipping a Cross. The Heathens Themselves Made Much of... 


shoulders project laterally, if you simply place a man with his arms and hands outstretched, 
you will make the general outline of a cross. Starting, then, from this rudimental form and 
prop, as it were, he applies a covering of clay, and so gradually completes the limbs, and 
forms the body, and covers the cross within with the shape which he meant to impress upon 
the clay; then from this design, with the help of compasses and leaden moulds, he has got 
all ready for his image which is to be brought out into marble, or clay, or whatever the ma- 
terial be of which he has determined to make his god. (This, then, is the process:) after the 
cross-shaped frame, the clay; after the clay, the god. In a well- understood routine, the cross 
passes into a god through the clayey medium. The cross then you consecrate, and from it 

/T/TQ 

the consecrated (deity) begins to derive his origin. Byway of example, let us take the case 

of a tree which grows up into a system of branches and foliage, and is a reproduction of its 
own kind, whether it springs from the kernel of an olive, or the stone of a peach, or a grain 
of pepper which has been duly tempered under ground. Now, if you transplant it, or take a 
cutting off its branches for another plant, to what will you attribute what is produced by the 
propagation? Will it not be to the grain, or the stone, or the kernel? Because, as the third 
stage is attributable to the second, and the second in like manner to the first, so the third 
will have to be referred to the first, through the second as the mean. We need not stay any 
longer in the discussion of this point, since by a natural law every kind of produce 
throughout nature refers back its growth to its original source; and just as the product is 
comprised in its primal cause, so does that cause agree in character with the thing produced. 
Since, then, in the production of your gods, you worship the cross which originates them, 
here will be the original kernel and grain, from which are propagated the wooden materials 
of your idolatrous images. Examples are not far to seek. Your victories you celebrate with 
religious ceremony 669 as deities; and they are the more august in proportion to the joy they 
bring you. The frames on which you hang up your trophies must be crosses: these are, as it 
were, the very core of your pageants. Thus, in your victories, the religion of your camp 
makes even crosses objects of worship; your standards it adores, your standards are the 

fP~J\ 

sanction of its oaths; your standards it prefers before Jupiter himself. But all that parade 
of images, and that display of pure gold, are (as so many) necklaces of the crosses. In like 
manner also, in the banners and ensigns, which your soldiers guard with no less sacred care, 


667 Statumini. 

668 Comp. The Apology, c. xii.: “Every image of a god has been first constructed on a cross and stake, and 
plastered with cement. The body of your god is first dedicated upon a gibbet.” 

669 Veneramini. 

670 Tropaeum, for “tropseorum.” We have given the sense rather than the words of this awkward sentence. 

671 Suggestus. 


254 



The Charge of Worshipping a Cross. The Heathens Themselves Made Much of... 


you have the streamers (and) vestments of your crosses. You are ashamed, I suppose, to 
worship unadorned and simple crosses. 


255 



The Charge of Worshipping the Sun Met by a Retort. 


Chapter XIII. 672 — The Charge of Worshipping the Sun Met by a Retort. 

Others, with greater regard to good manners, it must be confessed, suppose that the 
sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray towards the 
east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity. What then? Do you do less than this? 
Do not many among you, with an affectation of sometimes worshipping the heavenly bodies 
likewise, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise? It is you, at all events, who have 
even admitted the sun into the calendar of the week; and you have selected its day, in 
preference to the preceding day 674 as the most suitable in the week 675 for either an entire 
abstinence from the bath, or for its postponement until the evening, or for taking rest and 
for banqueting. By resorting to these customs, you deliberately deviate from your own reli- 

CCTf. 

gious rites to those of strangers. For the Jewish feasts on the Sabbath and “the Purification,” 

fSl’l 

and Jewish also are the ceremonies of the lamps, and the fasts of unleavened bread, and 

cn o 

the “littoral prayers,” all which institutions and practices are of course foreign from your 
gods. Wherefore, that I may return from this digression, you who reproach us with the sun 
and Sunday should consider your proximity to us. We are not far off from your Saturn and 
your days of rest. 



672 Comp. The Apology, c. xvi. 

673 Sunday. 

674 Saturday. 

675 Exdiebus. 

676 On the “Coena pura,” see our Anti-Marcion , p. 386, note 4. 

677 See Lev. xxiv. 2; also 2 Chron. xiii. 11. Witsius ( JEgyptiaca , ii. 16, 17) compares the Jewish with the 
Egyptian “ritus lucernarum.” 

678 Tertullian, in his tract de Jejuti. xvi., speaks of the Jews praying (after the loss of their temple, and in their 
dispersion) in the open air, “per omne litus.” 


256 


The Vile Calumny About Onocoetes Retorted on the Heathen by Tertullian. 


Chapter XIV. 679 — The Vile Calumny About Onocoetes Retorted on the Heathen by 
Tertullian. 

Report has introduced a new calumny respecting our God. Not so long ago, a most 

<ron 

abandoned wretch in that city of yours, a man who had deserted indeed his own reli- 

/TO 1 

gion — a Jew, in fact, who had only lost his skin, flayed of course by wild beasts, against 

which he enters the lists for hire day after day with a sound body, and so in a condition to 
lose his skin " — carried about in public a caricature of us with this label: Onocoetes. This 
(figure) had ass’s ears, and was dressed in a toga with a book, having a hoof on one of his 

(LQA 

feet. And the crowd believed this infamous Jew. For what other set of men is the seed-plot 
of all the calumny against us? Throughout the city, therefore, Onocoetes is all the talk. As, 

/TO C 

however, it is less then “a nine days’ wonder,” and so destitute of all authority from time, 
and weak enough from the character of its author, I shall gratify myself by using it simply 
in the way of a retort. Let us then see whether you are not here also found in our company. 
Now it matters not what their form may be, when our concern is about deformed images. 
You have amongst you gods with a dog’s head, and a lion’s head, with the horns of a cow, 
and a ram, and a goat, goat-shaped or serpent-shaped, and winged in foot, head, and back. 
Why therefore brand our one God so conspicuously? Many an Onocoetes is found amongst 
yourselves. 


679 Comp. The Apology, c. xvi. 

680 In ista civitate, Rome. 

681 This is explained in the passage of The Apology (xvi.): “He had for money exposed himself with criminals 
to fight with wild beasts.” 

682 Decutiendus, from a jocular word, “decutire.” 

683 This curious word is compounded of ovoq, an ass, and KOtaaSai, which Hesychius explains by iepaaSou, 
to act as a priest. The word therefore means, “asinarius sacerdos,” “an ass of a priest.” Calumnious enough; but 
suited to the vile occasion, and illustrative of the ribald opposition which Christianity had to encounter. 

684 We take Rigaltius’ reading, “seminarium.” 

685 Tanquam hesternum. 


257 



The Charge of Infanticide Retorted on the Heathen. 


Chapter XV. 686 — The Charge of Infanticide Retorted on the Heathen. 

Since we are on a par in respect of the gods, it follows that there is no difference between 

/ro'7 

us on the point of sacrifice, or even of worship, if I may be allowed to make good our 
comparison from another sort of evidence. We begin our religious service, or initiate our 
mysteries, with slaying an infant. As for you, since your own transactions in human blood 
and infanticide have faded from your memory, you shall be duly reminded of them in the 
proper place; we now postpone most of the instances, that we may not seem to be every- 

/TOO 

where handling the selfsame topics. Meanwhile, as I have said, the comparison between 
us does not fail in another point of view. For if we are infanticides in one sense, you also 
can hardly be deemed such in any other sense; because, although you are forbidden by the 
laws to slay new-born infants, it so happens that no laws are evaded with more impunity or 
greater safety, with the deliberate knowledge of the public, and the suffrages of this entire 

age . 690 Yet there is no great difference between us, only you do not kill your infants in the 
way of a sacred rite, nor (as a service) to God. But then you make away with them in a more 
cruel manner, because you expose them to the cold and hunger, and to wild beasts, or else 
you get rid of them by the slower death of drowning. If, however, there does occur any dis- 
similarity between us in this matter , 691 you must not overlook the fact that it is your own 
dear children whose life you quench; and this will supplement, nay, abundantly aggravate, 

on your side of the question, whatever is defective in us on other grounds. Well, but we are 
said to sup off our impious sacrifice! Whilst we postpone to a more suitable place whatever 
resemblance even to this practice is discoverable amongst yourselves, we are not far removed 
from you in voracity. If in the one case there is unchastity, and in ours cruelty, we are still 
on the same footing (if I may so far admit our guilt 694 ) in nature, where cruelty is always 
found in concord with unchastity. But, after all, what do you less than we; or rather, what 
do you not do in excess of us? I wonder whether it be a small matter to you 695 to pant for 
human entrails, because you devour full-grown men alive? Is it, forsooth, only a trifle to 


686 Comp. The Apology, c. ix. 

687 Sacri. 

688 He refers in this passage to his Apology, especially c. ix. 

689 Tabellis. 

690 Unius setatis. This Oehler explains by “per unam jam totam hanc aetatem.” 

691 Genere. 

692 Pignora, scil. amoris. 

693 See Apology, c. ix. 

694 Si forte. 

695 Parum scilicet? 


258 



The Charge of Infanticide Retorted on the Heathen. 


lick up human blood, when you draw out 696 the blood which was destined to live? Is it a 
light thing in your view to feed on an infant, when you consume one wholly before it is 
come to the birth ? 697 


696 Elicitis. 

697 Infantem totum prsecocum. 


259 



Other Charges Repelled by the Same Method. The Story of the Noble Roman... 


Chapter XVI. 698 — Other Charges Repelled by the Same Method. The Story of the 

Noble Roman Youth and His Parents. 

I am now come to the hour for extinguishing the lamps, and for using the dogs, and 
practising the deeds of darkness. And on this point I am afraid I must succumb to you; for 
what similar accusation shall I have to bring against you? But you should at once commend 
the cleverness with which we make our incest look modest, in that we have devised a 
spurious night , 699 to avoid polluting the real light and darkness, and have even thought it 
right to dispense with earthly lights, and to play tricks also with our conscience. For whatever 
we do ourselves, we suspect in others when we choose (to be suspicious). As for your inces- 
tuous deeds, on the contrary , 700 men enjoy them at full liberty, in the face of day, or in the 
natural night, or before high Heaven; and in proportion to their successful issue is your own 
ignorance of the result, since you publicly indulge in your incestuous intercourse in the full 
cognizance of broad day-light. (No ignorance, however, conceals our conduct from our 
eyes,) for in the very darkness we are able to recognise our own misdeeds. The Persians, you 
know very well, according to Ctesias, live quite promiscuously with their mothers, in full 
knowledge of the fact, and without any horror; whilst of the Macedonians it is well known 
that they constantly do the same thing, and with perfect approbation: for once, when the 
blinded “ CEdipus came upon their stage, they greeted him with laughter and derisive 
cheers. The actor, taking off his mask in great alarm, said, “Gentlemen, have I displeased 
you?” “Certainly not,” replied the Macedonians, “you have played your part well enough; 
but either the author was very silly, if he invented (this mutilation as an atonement for the 
incest), or else CEdipus was a great fool for his pains if he really so punished himself;” and 
then they shouted out one to the other, "hAouve sic; rqv prycspa. But how insignificant, (say 
you,) is the stain which one or two nations can make on the whole world! As for us, we of 
course have infected the very sun, polluted the entire ocean! Quote, then, one nation which 
is free from the passions which allure the whole race of men to incest! If there is a single 
nation which knows nothing of concubinage through the necessity of age and sex — to say 
nothing of lust and licentiousness — that nation will be a stranger to incest. If any nature can 
be found so peculiarly removed from the human state as to be liable neither to ignorance, 
nor error, nor misfortune, that alone maybe adduced with any consistency as an answer to 
the Christians. Reflect, therefore, on the licentiousness which floats about amongst men’s 


698 Comp. The Apology, c. ix. 

699 Adulteram noctem. 

700 Ceterum. 

701 Plane. 

Trucidatus oculos. 


702 


260 



Other Charges Repelled by the Same Method. The Story of the Noble Roman... 


7 O'! 

passions as if they were the winds, and consider whether there be any communities which 

the full and strong tides of passion fail to waft to the commission of this great sin. In the 
first place, when you expose your infants to the mercy of others, or leave them for adoption 
to better parents than yourselves, do you forget what an opportunity for incest is furnished, 
how wide a scope is opened for its accidental commission? Undoubtedly, such of you as are 
more serious from a principle of self-restraint and careful reflection, abstain from lusts 
which could produce results of such a kind, in whatever place you may happen to be, at 
home or abroad, so that no indiscriminate diffusion of seed, or licentious reception thereof, 
will produce children to you unawares, such as their very parents, or else other children, 
might encounter in inadvertent incest, for no restraint from age is regarded in (the impor- 
tunities of) lust. All acts of adultery, all cases of fornication, all the licentiousness of public 
brothels, whether committed at home or perpetrated out of doors , 704 serve to produce 
confusions of blood and complications of natural relationship, and thence to conduce 
to incest; from which consummation your players and buffoons draw the materials of their 
exhibitions. It was from such a source, too, that so flagrant a tragedy recently burst upon 
the public as that which the prefect Fuscianus had judicially to decide. A boy of noble birth, 
who, by the unintentional neglect of his attendants, had strolled too far from home, was 

707 

decoyed by some passers-by, and carried off. The paltry Greek who had the care of him, 

or somebody else, in true Greek fashion, had gone into the house and captured him. 
Having been taken away into Asia, he is brought, when arrived at full age, back to Rome, 
and exposed for sale. His own father buys him unawares, and treats him as a Greek . 709 Af- 

710 

terwards, as was his wont, the youth is sent by his master into the fields, chained as a slave. 
Thither the tutor and the nurse had already been banished for punishment. The whole case 
is represented to them; they relate each other’s misfortunes: they, on the one hand, how 
they had lost their ward when he was a boy; he, on the other hand, that he had been lost 
from his boyhood. But they agreed in the main, that he was a native of Rome of a noble 
family; perhaps he further gave sure proofs of his identity. Accordingly, as God willed it 
for the purpose of fastening a stain upon that age, a presentiment about the time excites 
him, the periods exactly suit his age, even his eyes help to recall his features, some pecu- 


703 Errores. 

704 Sive stativo vel ambulatorio titulo. 

705 Compagines generis. 

706 Comitum. 

707 Grseculus. 

708 “Aliquis” is here understood. 

709 Utitur Graeco, i.e., cinaedo, “for purposes of lust.” 

710 Or, “is sent into the country, and put into prison.” 

711 Aliquid recordantur. 


261 



Other Charges Repelled by the Same Method. The Story of the Noble Roman... 


liar marks on his body are enumerated. His master and mistress, who are now no other than 
his own father and mother, anxiously urge a protracted inquiry. The slave-dealer is examined, 
the unhappy truth is all discovered. When their wickedness becomes manifest, the parents 
find a remedy for their despair by hanging themselves; to their son, who survives the 
miserable calamity, their property is awarded by the prefect, not as an inheritance, but as 

71 9 

the wages of infamy and incest. That one case was a sufficient example for public exposure 
of the sins of this sort which are secretly perpetrated among you. Nothing happens among 
men in solitary isolation. But, as it seems to me, it is only in a solitary case that such a charge 
can be drawn out against us, even in the mysteries of our religion. You ply us evermore with 
this charge; yet there are like delinquencies to be traced amongst you, even in your ordin- 

ary course of life . 714 


712 Public* eruptionis. 

713 Intentatis. 

714 Vestris non sacramentis, with a hyphen, “your non-mysteries. 


262 



The Christian Refusal to Swear by the Genius ofCcesar. Flippancy and Irreverence... 


Chapter XVII. 715 — The Christian Refusal to Swear by the Genius of Caesar. Flippancy 
and Irreverence Retorted on the Heathen. 

As to your charges of obstinacy and presumption, whatever you allege against us, even 
in these respects, there are not wanting points in which you will bear a comparison with us. 
Our first step in this contumacious conduct concerns that which is ranked by you immedi- 
ately after the worship due to God, that is, the worship due to the majesty of the Caesars, 
in respect of which we are charged with being irreligious towards them, since we neither 
propitiate their images nor swear by their genius. We are called enemies of the people. Well, 
be it so; yet at the same time (it must not be forgotten, that) the emperors find enemies 
amongst you heathen, and are constantly getting surnames to signalize their triumphs — one 
becoming Parthicus, and another Medicus and Germanicus. On this head the Roman 

790 

people must see to it who they are amongst whom " there still remain nations which are 

79 1 

unsubdued and foreign to their rule. But, at all events, you are of us, and yet you conspire 

against us. (In reply, we need only state) a well-known fact, “ that we acknowledge the 
fealty of Romans to the emperors. No conspiracy has ever broken out from our body: no 
Caesar’s blood has ever fixed a stain upon us, in the senate or even in the palace; no assump- 
tion of the purple has ever in any of the provinces been affected by us. The Syrias still exhale 
the odours of their corpses; still do the Gauls fail to wash away (their blood) in the waters 

794 

of their Rhone. Your allegations of our insanity I omit, because they do not compromise 

the Roman name. But I will grapple with the charge of sacrilegious vanity, and remind 

726 727 

you of the irreverence of your own lower classes, and the scandalous lampoons of 

which the statues are so cognizant, and the sneers which are sometimes uttered at the public 

games, and the curses with which the circus resounds. If not in arms, you are in tongue 


715 Comp. The Apology, c. xxxv. 

716 Secunda. 

717 Severus, in a.d. 198. 

718 These titles were borne by Caracalla. 

719 Or, “topic” — hoc loco. 

720 i.e., whether among the Christians or the heathen. 

721 A cavil of the heathen. 

722 Sane. 

723 Galliae. 

724 Vesanite. 

725 Conveniam. 

726 Recognoscam. 

727 Festivos libellos. 

728 A concilio. 


263 



The Christian Refusal to Swear by the Genius ofCcesar. Flippancy and Irreverence... 


at all events always rebellious. But I suppose it is quite another affair to refuse to swear by 
the genius of Caesar? For it is fairly open to doubt as to who are perjurers on this point, 
when you do not swear honestly even by your gods. Well, we do not call the emperor 
God; for on this point sannam facimus, as the saying is. But the truth is, that you who 

call Caesar God both mock him, by calling him what he is not, and curse him, because he 

70 1 

does not want to be what you call him. For he prefers living to being made a god. 


729 Ex fide. 

730 Literally, “we make faces.” 

731 Comp. The Apology, c. xxxiii., p. 37, supra, and Minucius Felix, Octavius, c. xxiii. [Vol. IV. this Series.] 

264 



Christians Charged with an Obstinate Contempt of Death. Instances of the... 


Chapter XVIII. 732 — Christians Charged with an Obstinate Contempt of Death. In- 
stances of the Same are Found Amongst the Heathen. 

The rest of your charge of obstinacy against us you sum up in this indictment, that we 
boldly refuse neither your swords, nor your crosses, nor your wild beasts, nor fire, nor tor- 
tures, such is our obduracy and contempt of death. But (you are inconsistent in your charges); 
for in former times amongst your own ancestors all these terrors have come in men’s intrep- 
idity not only to be despised, but even to be held in great praise. How many swords there 

I'lA 

were, and what brave men were willing to suffer by them, it were irksome to enumerate. 

(If we take the torture) of the cross, of which so many instances have occurred, exquisite in 
cruelty, your own Regulus readily initiated the suffering which up to his day was without a 
precedent; ' a queen of Egypt used wild beasts of her own (to accomplish her death); 
the Carthaginian woman, who in the last extremity of her country was more courageous 
than her husband Asdrubal, only followed the example, set long before by Dido herself, 
of going through fire to her death. Then, again, a woman of Athens defied the tyrant, ex- 
hausted his tortures, and at last, lest her person and sex might succumb through weakness, 
she bit off her tongue and spat out of her mouth the only possible instrument of a confession 
which was now out of her power. But in your own instance you account such deeds 
glorious, in ours obstinate. Annihilate now the glory of your ancestors, in order that you 
may thereby annihilate us also. Be content from henceforth to repeal the praises of your 
forefathers, in order that you may not have to accord commendation to us for the same 
(sufferings). Perhaps (you will say) the character of a more robust age may have rendered 
the spirits of antiquity more enduring. Now, however, (we enjoy) the blessing of quietness 
and peace; so that the minds and dispositions of men (should be) more tolerant even towards 
strangers. Well, you rejoin, be it so: you may compare yourselves with the ancients; we must 
needs pursue with hatred all that we find in you offensive to ourselves, because it does not 
obtain currency among us. Answer me, then, on each particular case by itself. I am not 
seeking for examples on a uniform scale . 740 Since, forsooth, the sword through their contempt 


732 Comp., The Apology, c. 50 [p. 54, infra.] 

733 A virtute didicerunt. 

734 With the “piget prosequi” to govern the preceding oblique clause, it is unnecessary to suppose (with 
Oehler) the omission here of some verb like “erogavit.” 

735 Novitatem...dedicavit. 

736 Tertullian refers to Cleopatra’s death also in his tract ad Mart. c. iv. [See this Vol. infra.] 

737 This case is again referred to in this treatise (p. 138), and in ad Mart c. iv. [See this Volume, infra.] 

738 Eradicatae confessionis. [See p. 55, supra.] 

739 Non invenitur. 

740 Eadem voce. 


265 



Christians Charged with an Obstinate Contempt of Death. Instances of the... 


of death produced stories of heroism amongst your ancestors, it is not, of course , 741 from 

749 

love of life that you go to the trainers sword in hand and offer yourselves as gladiators, 
(nor) through fear of death do you enrol your names in the army . 743 Since an ordinary 744 
woman makes her death famous by wild beasts, it cannot but be of your own pure accord 
that you encounter wild beasts day after day in the midst of peaceful times. Although no 
longer any Regulus among you has raised a cross as the instrument of his own crucifixion, 
yet a contempt of the fire has even now displayed itself , 745 since one of yourselves very lately 
has offered for a wager 746 to go to any place which may be fixed upon and put on the 
burning shirt. If a woman once defiantly danced beneath the scourge, the same feat has 
been very recently performed again by one of your own (circus-) hunters as he traversed 

the appointed course, not to mention the famous sufferings of the Spartans . 749 



741 Utique. The ironical tone of Tertullian’s answer is evident. 

742 Gladio ad lanistas auctoratis. 

743 We follow Oehler in giving the clause this negative turn; he renders it: “Tretet nicht aus Furcht vor dem 
Tode ins Kriegsheer ein.” 

744 Alicui. 

745 Jam evasit. 

746 Auctoravit. 

747 Vestiendum incendiale tunica. 

748 Inter venatorios: “venatores circi” (Oehler). 

749 “Doubtless the stripes which the Spartans endured with such firmness, aggravated by the presence of 
their nearest relatives, who encouraged them, conferred honour upon their family.” — Apology, c. 50. [See p. 55, 
supra.] 


266 



If Christians and the Heathen Thus Resemble Each Other, There is Great Difference... 


Chapter XIX. 750 — If Christians and the Heathen Thus Resemble Each Other, There 
is Great Difference in the Grounds and Nature of Their Apparently Similar 
Conduct. 

Here end, I suppose, your tremendous charges of obstinacy against the Christians. Now, 
since we are amenable to them in common with yourselves, it only remains that we compare 
the grounds which the respective parties have for being personally derided. All our obstinacy, 

nr 1 

however, is with you a foregone conclusion, based on our strong convictions; for we take 
for granted a resurrection of the dead. Hope in this resurrection amounts to a contempt 

of death. Ridicule, therefore, as much as you like the excessive stupidity of such minds as 
die that they may live; but then, in order that you may be able to laugh more merrily, and 
deride us with greater boldness, you must take your sponge, or perhaps your tongue, and 
wipe away those records of yours every now and then cropping out , 754 which assert in not 
dissimilar terms that souls will return to bodies. But how much more worthy of acceptance 
is our belief which maintains that they will return to the same bodies! And how much more 

nrr 

ridiculous is your inherited conceit, that the human spirit is to reappear in a dog, or a 
mule, or a peacock! Again, we affirm that a judgment has been ordained by God according 
to the merits of every man. This you ascribe to Minos and Rhadamanthus, while at the same 
time you reject Aristides, who was a juster judge than either. By the award of the judgment, 
we say that the wicked will have to spend an eternity in endless fire, the pious and innocent 
in a region of bliss. In your view likewise an unalterable condition is ascribed to the respective 
destinations of Pyriphlegethon and Elysium. Now they are not merely your composers 
of myth and poetry who write songs of this strain; but your philosophers also speak with all 
confidence of the return of souls to their former state , 757 and of the twofold award 758 of a 
final judgment. 


750 Compare The Apology, cc. xlvii. xlviii. xlix. [This Vol., supra.] 

751 Praestruitur. 

752 Praesumimus. 

753 Est. 

754 Interim. 

755 Traditum. 

756 The heathen hell, Tartarus or Orcus. 

757 Reciprocatione. 

758 Distributione. 


267 



Truth and Reality Pertain to Christians Alone. The Heathen Counselled to... 


Chapter XX. — Truth and Reality Pertain to Christians Alone. The Heathen Coun- 
selled to Examine and Embrace It. 

How long therefore, O most unjust heathen, will you refuse to acknowledge us, and 
(what is more) to execrate your own (worthies), since between us no distinction has place, 
because we are one and the same? Since you do not (of course) hate what you yourselves 
are, give us rather your right hands in fellowship, unite your salutations, mingle your 
embraces, sanguinary with the sanguinary, incestuous with the incestuous, conspirators 
with conspirators, obstinate and vain with those of the selfsame qualities. In company with 
each other, we have been traitors to the majesty of the gods; and together do we provoke 

'Jff) 

their indignation. You too have your “third race;” not indeed third in the way of religious 

7/ri 

rite, but a third race in sex, and, made up as it is of male and female in one, it is more 

'If') 

fitted to men and women (for offices of lust). Well, then, do we offend you by the very 
fact of our approximation and agreement? Being on a par is apt to furnish unconsciously 
the materials for rivalry. Thus “a potter envies a potter, and a smith a smith.” ' But we 
must now discontinue this imaginary confession . 764 Our conscience has returned to the 
truth, and to the consistency of truth. For all those points which you allege (against us) 
will be really found in ourselves alone; and we alone can rebut them, against whom they are 
adduced, by getting you to listen to the other side of the question, whence that full 
knowledge is learnt which both inspires counsel and directs the judgment. Now it is in fact 
your own maxim, that no one should determine a cause without hearing both sides of it; 
and it is only in our own case that you neglect (the equitable principle). You indulge to the 
full that fault of human nature, that those things which you do not disallow in yourselves 

If Q 

you condemn in others, or you boldly charge against others those things the guilt of 

7 /rn 770 

which you retain a lasting consciousness of in yourselves. The course of life in which 


759 Compingite oscula. 

760 Eunuchs (Rigalt.). 

761 As the Christians were held to be; coming after (1) the heathen, (2) the Jews. See above, c. viii., and 
Scorpiace, c. x. 

762 Eunuchs (Rigalt.). 

763 An oft-quoted proverb in ancient writers. It occurs in Hesiod {Opp. et Dies ) 25. 

764 Literally, “cease henceforth, O, simulated confession.” 

765 Omnia ista. 

766 This seems to be the force of the “agnitione,” which Oehler renders “auditione.” 

767 Satisfacitis. 

768 Jactetis. 

769 Quorum reatum. 

770 Memineritis. 


268 



Truth and Reality Pertain to Christians Alone. The Heathen Counselled to... 


you will choose to occupy yourselves is different from ours: whilst chaste in the eyes of 
others, you are unchaste towards your own selves; whilst vigorous against vice out of doors, 
you succumb to it at home. This is the injustice (which we have to suffer), that, knowing 
truth, we are condemned by those who know it not; free from guilt, we are judged by those 
who are implicated in it. Remove the mote, or rather the beam, out of your own eye, that 
you may be able to extract the mote from the eyes of others. Amend your own lives first, 
that you may be able to punish the Christians. Only so far as you shall have effected your 
own reformation, will you refuse to inflict punishment on them — nay, so far will you have 
become Christians yourselves; and as you shall have become Christians, so far will you have 
compassed your own amendment of life. Learn what that is which you accuse in us, and 
you will accuse no longer; search out what that is which you do not accuse in yourselves, 
and you will become self- accusers. From these very few and humble remarks, so far as we 
have been able to open out the subject to you, you will plainly get some insight into (your 

771 

own) error, and some discovery of our truth. Condemn that truth if you have the heart, 

779 

but only after you have examined it; and approve the error still, if you are so minded, 
only first explore it. But if your prescribed rule is to love error and hate truth, why, (let me 
ask,) do you not probe to a full discovery the objects both of your love and your hatred? 


771 Si potestis. 

772 Si putatis. 


269 



Book II 


Book II . 773 

Chapter I. — The Heathen Gods from Heathen Authorities. Varro Has Written a 
Work on the Subject. His Threefold Classification. The Changeable Character 
of that Which Ought to Be Fixed and Certain. 

Our defence requires that we should at this point discuss with you the character of your 

774 

gods, O ye heathen, fit objects of our pity, appealing even to your own conscience to de- 
termine whether they be truly gods, as you would have it supposed, or falsely, as you are 
unwilling to have proved. Now this is the material part of human error, owing to the 
wiles of its author, that it is never free from the ignorance of error , 776 whence your guilt is 
all the greater. Your eyes are open, yet they see not; your ears are unstopped, yet they hear 
not; though your heart beats, it is yet dull, nor does your mind understand that of which 

770 77Q 

it is cognizant. If indeed the enormous perverseness (of your worship) could be broken 

up by a single demurrer, we should have our obj ection ready to hand in the declaration 
that, as we know all those gods of yours to have been instituted by men, all belief in the true 
Deity is by this very circumstance brought to nought; because, of course, nothing which 
some time or other had a beginning can rightly seem to be divine. But the fact is, there 
are many things by which tenderness of conscience is hardened into the callousness of wilful 
error. Truth is beleaguered with the vast force (of the enemy), and yet how secure she is in 
her own inherent strength! And naturally enough when from her very adversaries she 
gains to her side whomsoever she will, as her friends and protectors, and prostrates the entire 
host of her assailants. It is therefore against these things that our contest lies — against the 
institutions of our ancestors, against the authority of tradition , 785 the laws of our governors, 


773 In this part of his work the author reviews the heathen mythology, and exposes the absurdity of the 
polytheistic worship in the various classes of the gods, according to the distribution of Varro. 

774 Miserandae. 

775 Literally, “unwilling to know.” 

776 i.e., it does not know that it is error. 

777 Nescit. 

778 Agnoscit. 

779 Liceret. 

780 Discuti, or, in the logical sense, “be tested.” 

781 Nunciatio (legally, this is “an information lodged against a wrong.”) 

782 Excidere, “falls through.” 

783 Sed enim. 

784 Quidni? 

785 Receptorum. 


270 



The Heathen Gods from Heathen Authorities. Varro Has Written a Work on the... 


yo/r 

and the reasonings of the wise; against antiquity, custom, submission; against precedents, 

yoy 

prodigies, miracles, — all which things have had their part in consolidating that spurious 
system of your gods. Wishing, then, to follow step by step your own commentaries which 
you have drawn out of your theology of every sort (because the authority of learned men 
goes further with you in matters of this kind than the testimony of facts), I have taken and 
abridged the works of Varro; for he in his treatise Concerning Divine Things, collected 
out of ancient digests, has shown himself a serviceable guide 789 for us. Now, if I inquire of 
him who were the subtle inventors 790 of the gods, he points to either the philosophers, the 
peoples, or the poets. For he has made a threefold distinction in classifying the gods: one 
being the physical class, of which the philosophers treat; another the mythic class, which is 
the constant burden of the poets; the third, the gentile class, which the nations have ad- 
opted each one for itself. When, therefore, the philosophers have ingeniously composed 
their physical (theology) out of their own conjectures, when the poets have drawn their 
mythical from fables, and the (several) nations have forged their gentile (polytheism) accord- 
ing to their own will, where in the world must truth be placed? In the conjectures? Well, 
but these are only a doubtful conception. In the fables? But they are at best an absurd story. 
In the popular accounts? This sort of opinion, however, is only promiscuous and 
municipal. Now all things with the philosophers are uncertain, because of their variation 
with the poets all is worthless, because immoral; with the nations all is irregular and confused, 
because dependent on their mere choice. The nature of God, however, if it be the true one 
with which you are concerned, is of so definite a character as not to be derived from uncertain 
speculations, nor contaminated with worthless fables, nor determined by promiscuous 
conceits. It ought indeed to be regarded, as it really is, as certain, entire, universal, because 
it is in truth the property of all. Now, what god shall I believe? One that has been gauged by 
vague suspicion? One that history has divulged? One that a community has invented? It 


786 Necessitatem, answering to the “leges dominantium.” 

787 Adulterinam. 

788 St. Augustine, in his de Civit. Dei , makes similar use of Varro’s work on the heathen gods, Liber 
Divinarum. 

789 Scopum, perhaps “mark.” 

790 Insinuatores. 

791 Volutetur. 

792 Adoptionibus. 

793 Adoptatio. 

794 Passiva, “a jumble.” 

795 Argumentationibus. 

796 Historia. This word seems to refer to the class of mythical divinity above mentioned. It therefore means 
“fable” or “absurd story” (see above). 


271 



The Heathen Gods from Heathen Authorities. Varro Has Written a Work on the... 


would be a far worthier thing if I believed no god, than one which is open to doubt, or full 

7Q7 

of shame, or the object of arbitrary selection. 


797 Adoptivum. 


272 



Philosophers Had Not Succeeded in Discovering God. The Uncertainty and Confusion... 


Chapter II. — Philosophers Had Not Succeeded in Discovering God. The Uncertainty 

and Confusion of Their Speculations. 

7QO 

But the authority of the physical philosophers is maintained among you as the special 

property 799 of wisdom. You mean of course, that pure and simple wisdom of the philosophers 
which attests its own weakness mainly by that variety of opinion which proceeds from an 
ignorance of the truth. Now what wise man is so devoid of truth, as not to know that God 
is the Father and Lord of wisdom itself and truth? Besides, there is that divine oracle uttered 
by Solomon: “The fear of the Lord,” says he, “is the beginning of wisdom .” 800 But 801 fear 
has its origin in knowledge; for how will a man fear that of which he knows nothing? 
Therefore he who shall have the fear of God, even if he be ignorant of all things else, if he 
has attained to the knowledge and truth of God, will possess full and perfect wisdom. 
This, however, is what philosophy has not clearly realized. For although, in their inquisitive 
disposition to search into all kinds of learning, the philosophers may seem to have investigated 
the sacred Scriptures themselves for their antiquity, and to have derived thence some of 
their opinions; yet because they have interpolated these deductions they prove that they have 
either despised them wholly or have not fully believed them, for in other cases also the 
simplicity of truth is shaken 803 by the over-scrupulousness of an irregular belief , 804 and 
that they therefore changed them, as their desire of glory grew, into products of their own 
mind. The consequence of this is, that even that which they had discovered degenerated 
into uncertainty, and there arose from one or two drops of truth a perfect flood of argument- 
ation. For after they had simply found God, they did not expound Him as they found 
Him, but rather disputed about His quality, and His nature, and even about His abode. The 
Platonists, indeed, (held) Him to care about worldly things, both as the disposer and judge 

OA/" 

thereof. The Epicureans regarded Him as apathetic and inert, and (so to say) a non-en- 
tity. The Stoics believed Him to be outside of the world; the Platonists, within the world. 

The God whom they had so imperfectly admitted, they could neither know nor fear; and 


798 

Patrocinatur. 


799 

Mancipium. 


800 

Prov. ix. 10; Ps. cxi. 10. 


801 

Porro. 


802 

Deum omnium notititam et veritatem adsecutus, i.e 

., “following the God of all as knowledge and truth.” 

803 

Nutat. 


804 

Passivae fidei. 


805 

Solummodo. 


806 

Otiosum. 


807 

“A nobody.” 



273 


Philosophers Had Not Succeeded in Discovering God. The Uncertainty and Confusion... 


therefore they could not be wise, since they wandered away indeed from the beginning of 
wisdom,” that is, “the fear of God.” Proofs are not wanting that among the philosophers 
there was not only an ignorance, but actual doubt, about the divinity. Diogenes, when asked 
what was taking place in heaven, answered by saying, “I have never been up there.” Again, 

ono 

whether there were any gods, he replied, “I do not know; only there ought to be gods.” 
When Croesus inquired of Thales of Miletus what he thought of the gods, the latter having 
taken some time 809 to consider, answered by the word “Nothing.” Even Socrates denied 
with an air of certainty those gods of yours. Yet he with a like certainty requested that 

a cock should be sacrificed to /Esculapius. And therefore when philosophy, in its practice 
of defining about God, is detected in such uncertainty and inconsistency, what “fear” could 
it possibly have had of Him whom it was not competent clearly to determine? We have 
been taught to believe of the world that it is god. " For such the physical class of theologizers 
conclude it to be, since they have handed down such views about the gods that Dionysius 
the Stoic divides them into three kinds. The first, he supposes, includes those gods which 
are most obvious, as the Sun, Moon, and Stars; the next, those which are not apparent, as 
Neptune; the remaining one, those which are said to have passed from the human state to 
the divine, as Hercules and Amphiaraus. In like manner, Arcesilaus makes a threefold form 
of the divinity — the Olympian, the Astral, the Titanian — sprung from Coelus and Terra; 
from which through Saturn and Ops came Neptune, Jupiter, and Orcus, and their entire 
progeny. Xenocrates, of the Academy, makes a twofold division — the Olympian and the 
Titanian, which descend from Coelus and Terra. Most of the Egyptians believe that there 
are four gods — the Sun and the Moon, the Heaven and the Earth. Along with all the supernal 
fire Democritus conjectures that the gods arose. Zeno, too, will have it that their nature re- 
sembles it. Whence Varro also makes fire to be the soul of the world, that in the world fire 
governs all things, just as the soul does in ourselves. But all this is most absurd. For he says, 
Whilst it is in us, we have existence; but as soon as it has left us, we die. Therefore, when 
fire quits the world in lightning, the world comes to its end. 


808 Nisi ut sint expedire. 

809 Aliquot commeatus. 

810 Quasi certus. 

811 Istosdeos. 

812 Nontenebat. 

813 De mundo deo didicimus. 


274 



The Physical Philosophers Maintained the Divinity of the Elements; The Absurdity. . . 


Chapter III. — The Physical Philosophers Maintained the Divinity of the Elements; 

The Absurdity of the Tenet Exposed. 

o 1 A 

From these developments of opinion, we see that your physical class of philosophers 

are driven to the necessity of contending that the elements are gods, since it alleges that 
other gods are sprung from them; for it is only from gods that gods could be born. Now, 
although we shall have to examine these other gods more fully in the proper place, in the 
mythic section of the poets, yet, inasmuch as we must meanwhile treat of them in their 
connection with the present class, we shall probably even from their present class, 
when once we turn to the gods themselves, succeed in showing that they can by no means 
appear to be gods who are said to be sprung from the elements; so that we have at once a 

o 1 H 

presumption that the elements are not gods, since they which are born of the elements 
are not gods. In like manner, whilst we show that the elements are not gods, we shall, accord- 
ing to the law of natural relationship, get a presumptive argument that they cannot rightly 

be maintained to be gods whose parents (in this case the elements) are not gods. It is a settled 
point that a god is born of a god, and that what lacks divinity " is born of what is not 

S9 1 S99 

divine. Now, so far as the world of which your philosophers treat (for I apply this term 

to the universe in the most comprehensive sense ) contains the elements, ministering to 
them as its component parts (for whatever its own condition may be, the same of course 
will be that of its elements and constituent portions), it must needs have been formed either 
by some being, according to the enlightened view " of Plato, or else by none, according to 
the harsh opinion of Epicurus; and since it was formed, by having a beginning, it must 
also have an end. That, therefore, which at one time before its beginning had no existence, 
and will by and by after its end cease to have an existence, cannot of course, by any possib- 
ility, seem to be a god, wanting as it does that essential character of divinity, eternity, which 


814 Istud. 

815 Ad prsesentem speciem, the physical class. 

816 Or, classification. 

817 Ut jam hinc praejudicatum sit. 

818 Ad illam agnatorum speciem. 

819 Scitum. 

820 Non-deum. 

821 “Quod,” with a subj. mood. 

822 Mundus iste. 

823 Summaliter. 

824 Humanitas. 

825 Duritia. 


275 



The Physical Philosophers Maintained the Divinity of the Elements; The Absurdity. . . 


QDf. R97 

is reckoned to be without beginning, and without end. If, however, it is in no wise 
formed, and therefore ought to be accounted divine — since, as divine, it is subject neither 
to a beginning nor an end of itself — how is it that some assign generation to the elements, 
which they hold to be gods, when the Stoics deny that anything can be born of a god? Like- 
wise, how is it that they wish those beings, whom they suppose to be born of the elements, 
to be regarded as gods, when they deny that a god can be born? Now, what must hold good 
of the universe will have to be predicated of the elements, I mean of heaven, and of earth, 

and of the stars, and of fire, which Varro has vainly proposed that you should believe to 

be gods, and the parents of gods, contrary to that generation and nativity which he had de- 
clared to be impossible in a god. Now this same Varro had shown that the earth and the 
stars were animated. But if this be the case, they must needs be also mortal, according to 

0-5 1 

the condition of animated nature; for although the soul is evidently immortal, this attribute 

is limited to it alone: it is not extended to that with which it is associated, that is, the body. 
Nobody, however, will deny that the elements have body, since we both touch them and are 
touched by them, and we see certain bodies fall down from them. If, therefore, they are an- 
imated, laying aside the principle of a soul, as befits their condition as bodies, they are 
mortal — of course not immortal. And yet whence is it that the elements appear to Varro to 
be animated? Because, forsooth, the elements have motion. And then, in order to anticipate 
what may be objected on the other side, that many things else have motion — as wheels, as 
carriages, as several other machines — he volunteers the statement that he believes only such 
things to be animated as move of themselves, without any apparent mover or impeller from 
without, like the apparent mover of the wheel, or propeller of the carriage, or director of 
the machine. If, then, they are not animated, they have no motion of themselves. Now, when 
he thus alleges a power which is not apparent, he points to what it was his duty to seek after, 
even the creator and controller of the motion; for it does not at once follow that, because 
we do not see a thing, we believe that it does not exist. Rather, it is necessary the more pro- 
foundly to investigate what one does not see, in order the better to understand the character 
of that which is apparent. Besides if (you admit) only the existence of those things which 
appear and are supposed to exist simply because they appear, how is it that you also admit 
them to be gods which do not appear? If, moreover, those things seem to have existence 


826 Censetur. 

827 i.e., “iste mundus.” 

828 Mundi, i.e., the universe; see above. 

829 The best reading is “vobis credi;” this is one of Tertullian’s “ final infinitives.” 

830 Compare Augustine, de Civit. Dei , vii. 6, 23, 24, 28. 

831 Formam. 

832 Ratione. 


276 



The Physical Philosophers Maintained the Divinity of the Elements; The Absurdity. . . 


which have none, why may they not have existence also which do not seem to have it? Such, 

Q O O 

for instance, as the Mover of the heavenly beings. Granted, then, that things are animated 

because they move of themselves, and that they move of themselves when they are not moved 
by another: still it does not follow that they must straightway be gods, because they are an- 
imated, nor even because they move of themselves; else what is to prevent all animals 
whatever being accounted gods, moving as they do of themselves? This, to be sure, is allowed 
to the Egyptians, but their superstitious vanity has another basis. 


833 Motatorem. 

834 Alia sane vanitate. 


277 



Wrong Derivation of the Word Qe . The Name Indicative of the True Deity.... 


Chapter IV. — Wrong Derivation of the Word ©eoq. The Name Indicative of the 

True Deity. God Without Shape and Immaterial. Anecdote of Thales. 

Some affirm that the gods (i.e. 0eoi) were so called because the verbs Geeiv and aeiaQai 

o o r 

signify to run and to be moved. This term, then, is not indicative of any majesty, for it is 
derived from running and motion, not from any dominion of godhead. But inasmuch 
as the Supreme God whom we worship is also designated ©eoc;, without however the appear- 
ance of any course or motion in Him, because He is not visible to any one, it is clear that 
that word must have had some other derivation, and that the property of divinity, innate 
in Himself, must have been discovered. Dismissing, then, that ingenious interpretation, it 
is more likely that the gods were not called 0eof from running and motion, but that the term 
was borrowed from the designation of the true God; so that you gave the name 0eof to the 
gods, whom you had in like manner forged for yourselves. Now, that this is the case, a plain 
proof is afforded in the fact that you actually give the common appellation 0eof to all those 
gods of yours, in whom there is no attribute of course or motion indicated. When, therefore, 
you call them both 0eof and immoveable with equal readiness, there is a deviation as well 
from the meaning of the word as from the idea of godhead, which is set aside if 
measured by the notion of course and motion. But if that sacred name be peculiarly significant 
of deity, and be simply true and not of a forced interpretation in the case of the true God, 

but transferred in a borrowed sense 840 to those other objects which you choose to call gods, 
then you ought to show to us that there is also a community of character between them, 
so that their common designation may rightly depend on their union of essence. But the 
true God, on the sole ground that He is not an object of sense, is incapable of being compared 
with those false deities which are cognizable to sight and sense (to sense indeed is sufficient); 
for this amounts to a clear statement of the difference between an obscure proof and a 
manifest one. Now, since the elements are obvious to all, (and) since God, on the contrary, 


835 This seems to mean: “because 0eeiv has also the sense of aeteaSai (motion as well as progression).” 

836 “Dominatione” is Oehler’s reading, but he approves of “denominatione” (Rigault’s reading); this would 
signify “designation of godhead.” 

837 Opinione. 

838 Rescinditur. 

839 Interpretatorium. 

840 Reprehensum. 

841 Docete. 


278 



Wrong Derivation of the Word Qe . The Name Indicative of the True Deity.... 


is visible to none, how will it be in your power from that part which you have not seen to 
pass to a decision on the objects which you see? Since, therefore, you have not to combine 
them in your perception or your reason, why do you combine them in name with the purpose 
of combining them also in power? For see how even Zeno separates the matter of the world 
from God: he says that the latter has percolated through the former, like honey through the 
comb. God, therefore, and Matter are two words (and) two things. Proportioned to the 
difference of the words is the diversity of the things; the condition also of matter follows its 
designation. Now if matter is not God, because its very appellation teaches us so, how can 
those things which are inherent in matter — that is, the elements — be regarded as gods, since 
the component members cannot possibly be heterogeneous from the body? But what concern 
have I with physiological conceits? It were better for one’s mind to ascend above the state 
of the world, not to stoop down to uncertain speculations. Plato’s form for the world was 
round. Its square, angular shape, such as others had conceived it to be, he rounded off, I 
suppose, with compasses, from his labouring to have it believed to be simply without a be- 
ginning. Epicurus, however, who had said, “What is above us is nothing to us,” wished 
notwithstanding to have a peep at the sky, and found the sun to be a foot in diameter. Thus 
far you must confess men were niggardly in even celestial objects. In process of time 
their ambitious conceptions advanced, and so the sun too enlarged its disk . 844 Accordingly, 
the Peripatetics marked it out as a larger world. Now, pray tell me, what wisdom is there 
in this hankering after conjectural speculations? What proof is afforded to us, notwithstand- 
ing the strong confidence of its assertions, by the useless affectation of a scrupulous curios- 
ity, which is tricked out with an artful show of language? It therefore served Thales of 
Miletus quite right, when, star-gazing as he walked with all the eyes he had, he had the 
mortification of falling into a well, and was unmercifully twitted by an Egyptian, who 
said to him, “Is it because you found nothing on earth to look at, that you think you ought 
to confine your gaze to the sky?” His fall, therefore, is a figurative picture of the philosophers; 
of those, I mean, who persist in applying their studies to a vain purpose, since they 
indulge a stupid curiosity on natural objects, which they ought rather (intelligently to direct) 
to their Creator and Governor. 


842 Sine capite. 

843 Scilicet. 

844 Aciem. 

845 Majorem orbem. Another reading has “majorem orbe,” q.d. “as larger than the world.” 

846 Morositatis. 

847 Cecidit turpiter. 

848 Scilicet. 

849 Habituros. 


279 



The Physical Theory Continued. Further Reasons Advanced Against the Divinity... 


Chapter V. — The Physical Theory Continued. Further Reasons Advanced Against 
the Divinity of the Elements. 

o rr\ 

Why, then, do we not resort to that far more reasonable opinion, which has clear 

or 1 

proof of being derived from men’s common sense and unsophisticated deduction? Even 

Varro bears it in mind, when he says that the elements are supposed to be divine, because 

o ZD 

nothing whatever is capable, without their concurrence, of being produced, nourished, 

or o 

or applied to the sustenance of man’s life and of the earth, since not even our bodies and 

OCA 

souls could have sufficed in themselves without the modification of the elements. By this 

ocr 

it is that the world is made generally habitable, — a result which is harmoniously secured 

o C/T 

by the distribution into zones, except where human residence has been rendered imprac- 
ticable by intensity of cold or heat. On this account, men have accounted as gods — the sun, 
because it imparts from itself the light of day, ripens the fruit with its warmth, and measures 
the year with its stated periods; the moon, which is at once the solace of the night and the 
controller of the months by its governance; the stars also, certain indications as they are of 
those seasons which are to be observed in the tillage of our fields; lastly, the very heaven 
also under which, and the earth over which, as well as the intermediate space within which, 
all things conspire together for the good of man. Nor is it from their beneficent influences 
only that a faith in their divinity has been deemed compatible with the elements, but from 
their opposite qualities also, such as usually happen from what one might call their wrath 

and anger — as thunder, and hail, and drought, and pestilential winds, floods also, and 

oro 

openings of the ground, and earthquakes: these are all fairly enough accounted gods, 
whether their nature becomes the object of reverence as being favourable, or of fear because 
terrible — the sovereign dispenser, in fact, both of help and of hurt. But in the practical 


850 Humaniorem. 

851 Conjectura. 

852 Suffragio. 

853 Sationem. 

854 Temperamento. 

855 Foederata. 

856 Circulorum conditionibus. 

857 Tanquam. 

858 Jure. 

859 Domina. 

860 Scilicet. 


280 



The Physical Theory Continued. Further Reasons Advanced Against the Divinity... 


conduct of social life, this is the way in which men act and feel: they do not show gratitude 
or find fault with the very things from which the succour or the injury proceeds, so much 
as with them by whose strength and power the operation of the things is effected. For even 
in your amusements you do not award the crown as a prize to the flute or the harp, but to 

Q/r i 

the musician who manages the said flute or harp by the power of his delightful skill. In 
like manner, when one is in ill-health, you do not bestow your acknowledgments on the 
flannel wraps, or the medicines, or the poultices, but on the doctors by whose care and 
prudence the remedies become effectual. So again, in untoward events, they who are 
wounded with the sword do not charge the injury on the sword or the spear, but on the 
enemy or the robber; whilst those whom a falling house covers do not blame the tiles or the 
stones, but the oldness of the building; as again shipwrecked sailors impute their calamity 
not to the rocks and waves, but to the tempest. And rightly too; for it is certain that everything 
which happens must be ascribed not to the instrument with which, but to the agent by 

Q/ro 

whom, it takes place; inasmuch as he is the prime cause of the occurrence, who appoints 

both the event itself and that by whose instrumentality it comes to pass (as there are in all 
things these three particular elements — the fact itself, its instrument, and its cause), because 
he himself who wills the occurrence of a thing comes into notice prior to the thing which 

he wills, or the instrument by which it occurs. On all other occasions therefore, your conduct 
is right enough, because you consider the author; but in physical phenomena your rule is 
opposed to that natural principle which prompts you to a wise judgment in all other cases, 
removing out of sight as you do the supreme position of the author, and considering rather 
the things that happen, than him by whom they happen. Thus it comes to pass that you 
suppose the power and the dominion to belong to the elements, which are but the slaves 
and functionaries. Now do we not, in thus tracing out an artificer and master within, expose 
the artful structure of their slavery 865 out of the appointed functions of those elements to 

Q/r /r 

which you ascribe (the attributes) of power? But gods are not slaves; therefore whatever 

Qf.'l 

things are servile in character are not gods. Otherwise they should prove to us that, ac- 

Q/TQ 

cording to the ordinary course of things, liberty is promoted by irregular licence, despotism 


861 Vi suavitatis. 

862 Lanis. 

863 Caput facti. 

864 Invenitur. 

865 Servitutis artem. “Artem” Oehler explains by “artiflciose institutum.” 

866 We subjoin Oehler’s text of this obscure sentence: “Non in ista investigatione alicujus artiflcis intus et 
domini servitutis artem ostendimus elementorum certis ex operis” (for “operibis,” not unusual in Tertullian) 
“eorum quas facis potestatis?” 

867 Aut. 

868 De licentia passivitatis libertas approbetur. 


281 



The Physical Theory Continued. Further Reasons Advanced Against the Divinity... 


by liberty, and that by despotism divine power is meant. For if all the (heavenly bodies) 
overhead forget not to fulfil their courses in certain orbits, in regular seasons, at proper 
distances, and at equal intervals — appointed in the way of a law for the revolutions of time, 
and for directing the guidance thereof — can it fail to result 870 from the very observance of 
their conditions and the fidelity of their operations, that you will be convinced both by the 
recurrence of their orbital courses and the accuracy of their mutations, when you bear in 
mind how ceaseless is their recurrence, that a governing power presides over them, to which 
the entire management of the world is obedient, reaching even to the utility and injury 
of the human race? For you cannot pretend that these (phenomena) act and care for them- 
selves alone, without contributing anything to the advantage of mankind, when you maintain 
that the elements are divine for no other reason than that you experience from them either 
benefit or injury to yourself. For if they benefit themselves only, you are under no obligation 
to them. 


869 Meminerunt. 

870 Num non. 

871 Universa negotiatio mundialis. 


282 



The Changes of the Heavenly Bodies, Proof that They are Not Divine. Transition... 


Chapter VI. — The Changes of the Heavenly Bodies, Proof that They are Not Divine. 

Transition from the Physical to the Mythic Class of Gods. 

Come now, do you allow that the Divine Being not only has nothing servile in His 
course, but exists in unimpaired integrity, and ought not to be diminished, or suspended, 
or destroyed? Well, then, all His blessedness would disappear, if He were ever subject to 
change. Look, however, at the stellar bodies; they both undergo change, and give clear 
evidence of the fact. The moon tells us how great has been its loss, as it recovers its full 
form; its greater losses you are already accustomed to measure in a mirror of water; 
so that I need not any longer believe in any wise what magians have asserted. The sun, too, 
is frequently put to the trial of an eclipse. Explain as best you may the modes of these celes- 

one 

tial casualties, it is impossible for God either to become less or to cease to exist. Vain, 

07/r 

therefore, are those supports of human learning, which, by their artful method of weaving 

conjectures, belie both wisdom and truth. Besides, it so happens, indeed, according to 
your natural way of thinking, that he who has spoken the best is supposed to have spoken 
most truly, instead of him who has spoken the truth being held to have spoken the best. 
Now the man who shall carefully look into things, will surely allow it to be a greater probab- 
ility that those elements which we have been discussing are under some rule and direction, 
than that they have a motion of their own, and that being under government they cannot 
be gods. If, however, one is in error in this matter, it is better to err simply than speculatively, 
like your physical philosophers. But, at the same time, if you consider the character of 
the mythic school, (and compare it with the physical,) the error which we have already seen 

oon 

frail men making in the latter is really the more respectable one, since it ascribes a divine 

nature to those things which it supposes to be superhuman in their sensibility, whether in 
respect of their position, their power, their magnitude, or their divinity. For that which you 
suppose to be higher than man, you believe to be very near to God. 


872 Felicitas. 

873 These are the moon’s monthly changes. 

874 Tertullian refers to the Magian method of watching eclipses, the evoTtrpopavreta. 

875 Instead of “non valet,” there is the reading “non volet,” “God would not consent,” etc. 

876 Viderint igitur “Let them look to themselves,” “never mind them.” 

877 Alias. 

878 Ista. 

879 Sedenim. 

880 Mortalitas. 


283 



The Gods of the Mythic Class. The Poets a Very Poor Authority in Such Matters.... 


Chapter VII. — The Gods of the Mythic Class. The Poets a Very Poor Authority in 
Such Matters. Homer and the Mythic Poets. Why Irreligious. 

oo 1 

But to pass to the mythic class of gods, which we attributed to the poets, I hardly 
know whether I must only seek to put them on a par with our own human mediocrity, or 
whether they must be affirmed to be gods, with proofs of divinity, like the African Mopsus 
and the Boeotian Amphiaraus. I must now indeed but slightly touch on this class, of which 

OOO 

a fuller view will be taken in the proper place. Meanwhile, that these were only human 
beings, is clear from the fact that you do not consistently call them gods, but heroes. Why 
then discuss the point? Although divine honours had to be ascribed to dead men, it was not 
to them as such, of course. Look at your own practice, when with similar excess of presump- 
tion you sully heaven with the sepulchres of your kings: is it not such as are illustrious for 
justice, virtue, piety, and every excellence of this sort, that you honour with the blessedness 
of deification, contented even to incur contempt if you forswear yourselves 883 for such 
characters? And, on the other hand, do you not deprive the impious and disgraceful of even 

004 

the old prizes of human glory, tear up their decrees and titles, pull down their statues, 

00 c 

and deface their images on the current coin? Will He, however, who beholds all things, 

OQ S' 

who approves, nay, rewards the good, prostitute before all men the attribute of His own 
inexhaustible grace and mercy? And shall men be allowed an especial mount of care and 
righteousness, that they may be wise in selecting and multiplying their deities? Shall 

OOQ 

attendants on kings and princes be more pure than those who wait on the Supreme God? 
You turn your back in horror, indeed, on outcasts and exiles, on the poor and weak, on the 
obscurely born and the low-lived ; 890 but yet you honour, even by legal sanctions , 891 unchaste 
men, adulterers, robbers, and parricides. Must we regard it as a subject of ridicule or indig- 
nation, that such characters are believed to be gods who are not fit to be men? Then, again, 


881 See above, c. i. [Note 19, p. 129.] 

882 See The Apology, especially cc. xxii. and xxiii. 

883 Pejerantes. 

884 Lancinatis. 

885 Repercutitus. 

886 Vulgo. 

887 Sapere. The infinitive of purpose is frequent in our author. 

888 Distribuendis. 

889 An allusion to Antinous, who is also referred to in The Apology, xiii. [“Court-page.” See, p. 29, Supra.] 

890 Inhoneste institutos. 

891 By the “legibus” Tertullian refers to the divine honours ordered to be paid, by decrees of the Senate, to 
deceased emperors. Comp. Suetonius, Octav. 88; and Pliny, Paneg. 11 (Oehler). 


284 



The Gods of the Mythic Class. The Poets a Very Poor Authority in Such Matters.... 


in this mythic class of yours which the poets celebrate, how uncertain is your conduct as to 
purity of conscience and the maintenance thereof! For whenever we hold up to execration 
the wretched, disgraceful and atrocious (examples) of your gods, you defend them as mere 

OQO 

fables, on the pretence of poetic licence; whenever we volunteer a silent contempt of this 
said poetic licence, then you are not only troubled with no horror of it, but you go so far 
as 894 to show it respect, and to hold it as one of the indispensable (fine) arts; nay , 895 you 
carry out the studies of your higher classes by its means, as the very foundation of 
your literature. Plato was of opinion that poets ought to be banished, as calumniators of the 
gods; (he would even have) Homer himself expelled from his republic, although, as you are 

QQO 

aware, he was the crowned head of them all. But while you admit and retain them thus, 
why should you not believe them when they disclose such things respecting your gods? And 
if you do believe your poets, how is it that you worship such gods (as they describe)? If you 
worship them simply because you do not believe the poets, why do you bestow praise on 
such lying authors, without any fear of giving offence to those whose calumniators you 
honour? A regard for truth 899 is not, of course, to be expected of poets. But when you say 
that they only make men into gods after their death, do you not admit that before death the 
said gods were merely human? Now what is there strange in the fact, that they who were 
once men are subject to the dishonour 900 of human casualties, or crimes, or fables? Do you 
not, in fact, put faith in your poets, when it is in accordance with their rhapsodies 901 that 
you have arranged in some instances your very rituals? How is it that the priestess of Ceres 
is ravished, if it is not because Ceres suffered a similar outrage? Why are the children of 
others sacrificed to Saturn , 902 if it is not because he spared not his own? Why is a male 
mutilated in honour of the Idaean goddess Cybele, unless it be that the (unhappy) youth 
who was too disdainful of her advances was castrated, owing to her vexation at his daring 
to cross her love ? 903 Why was not Hercules “a dainty dish” to the good ladies of Lanuvium, 


892 Ultro siletur. 

893 Ejusmodi. 

894 Insuper. 

895 Denique. 

896 Ingenuitatis. 

897 Initiatricem. 

898 Sane. 

899 Fides. 

900 Polluuntur. 

901 Relationibus. 

902 Comp. The Apology, ix. [See, p. 25, Supra.] 

903 Comp. Minucius Felix, Octav. xxi.; Arnobius, adv. Nat. v. 6, 7; Augustine, Civ. Dei, vi. 7. 


285 



The Gods of the Mythic Class. The Poets a Very Poor Authority in Such Matters.... 


if it was not for the primeval offence which women gave to him? The poets, no doubt, are 
liars. Yet it is not because of their telling us that 904 your gods did such things when they 
were human beings, nor because they predicated divine scandals 905 of a divine state, since 
it seemed to you more credible that gods should exist, though not of such a character, than 
that there should be such characters, although not gods. 


904 This is the force of the subjunctive verb. 

905 By divine scandals, he means such as exceed in their atrocity even human scandals. 


286 



The Gods of the Different Nations. Varro's Gentile Class. Their Inferiority. .. . 


Chapter VIII. — The Gods of the Different Nations. Varro’s Gentile Class. Their In- 
feriority. A Good Deal of This Perverse Theology Taken from Scripture. Serapis 
a Perversion of Joseph. 

There remains the gentile class of gods amongst the several nations : 906 these were adopted 
out of mere caprice, not from the knowledge of the truth; and our information about them 
comes from the private notions of different races. God, I imagine, is everywhere known, 
everywhere present, powerful everywhere — an object whom all ought to worship, all ought 
to serve. Since, then, it happens that even they, whom all the world worships in common, 
fail in the evidence of their true divinity, how much more must this befall those whom their 
very votaries 907 have not succeeded in discovering! For what useful authority could possibly 
precede a theology of so defective a character as to be wholly unknown to fame? How many 
have either seen or heard of the Syrian Atargatis, the African Coelestis, the Moorish Varsutina, 
the Arabian Obodas and Dusaris, or the Norican Belenus, or those whom Varro men- 
tions — Deluentinus of Casinum, Visidianus of Narnia, Numiternus of Atina, or Ancharia 
of Asculum? And who have any clear notions 908 of Nortia of Vulsinii ? 909 There is no differ- 
ence in the worth of even their names, apart from the human surnames which distinguish 
them. I laugh often enough at the little coteries of gods 910 in each municipality, which have 
their honours confined within their own city walls. To what lengths this licence of adopting 
gods has been pushed, the superstitious practices of the Egyptians show us; for they worship 
even their native 911 animals, such as cats, crocodiles, and their snake. It is therefore a small 
matter that they have also deified a man — him, I mean, whom not Egypt only, or Greece, 
but the whole world worships, and the Africans swear by; about whose state also all that 
helps our conjectures and imparts to our knowledge the semblance of truth is stated in our 
own (sacred) literature. For that Serapis of yours was originally one of our own saints called 
Joseph. The youngest of his brethren, but superior to them in intellect, he was from envy 


906 See above, c. i. [p. 129.] 

907 Municipes. “Their local worshippers or subjects.” 

908 Perceperint. 

909 Literally, “Have men heard of any Nortia belonging to the Vulsinensians?” 

910 Deos decuriones, in allusion to the small provincial senates which in the later times spread over the Roman 
colonies and municipia. 

911 Privatas. 

912 Compare Suidas, s. v. £apdiu<;; Ruflnus, Hist. Eccl. ii. 23. As Serapis was Joseph in disguise, so was Joseph 
a type of Christ, according to the ancient Christians, who were fond of subordinating heathen myths to Christian 
theology. 


287 



The Gods of the Different Nations. Varro's Gentile Class. Their Inferiority. .. . 


Q1 ^ 

sold into Egypt, and became a slave in the family of Pharaoh king of the country. Impor- 
tuned by the unchaste queen, when he refused to comply with her desire, she turned upon 
him and reported him to the king, by whom he is put into prison. There he displays the 
power of his divine inspiration, by interpreting aright the dreams of some (fellow-prisoners). 
Meanwhile the king, too, has some terrible dreams. Joseph being brought before him, ac- 
cording to his summons, was able to expound them. Having narrated the proofs of true 
interpretation which he had given in the prison, he opens out his dream to the king: those 
seven fat-fleshed and well-favoured kine signified as many years of plenty; in like manner, 
the seven lean-fleshed animals predicted the scarcity of the seven following years. He ac- 
cordingly recommends precautions to be taken against the future famine from the previous 
plenty. The king believed him. The issue of all that happened showed how wise he was, how 
invariably holy, and now how necessary. So Pharaoh set him over all Egypt, that he might 
secure the provision of corn for it, and thenceforth administer its government. They called 
him Serapis, from the turban 914 which adorned his head. The peck-like 915 shape of this 
turban marks the memory of his corn-provisioning; whilst evidence is given that the care 
of the supplies was all on his head , 916 by the very ears of corn which embellish the border 
of the head-dress. For the same reason, also, they made the sacred figure of a dog, which 

they regard (as a sentry) in Hades, and put it under his right hand, because the care of the 
Egyptians was concentrated 918 under his hand. And they put at his side Pharia , 919 whose 
name shows her to have been the king’s daughter. For in addition to all the rest of his kind 
gifts and rewards, Pharaoh had given him his own daughter in marriage. Since, however, 
they had begun to worship both wild animals and human beings, they combined both figures 
under one form Anubis, in which there may rather be seen clear proofs of its own character 
and condition enshrined 920 by a nation at war with itself, refractory 92 1 to its kings, despised 
among foreigners, with even the appetite of a slave and the filthy nature of a dog. 


913 Tertullian is not the only writer who has made mistakes in citing from memory Scripture narratives. 
Comp. Arnobius. 

914 Suggestu. 

915 Modialis. 

916 Super caput esse, i.e., was entrusted to him. 

917 Canem dicaverunt. 

918 Compressa. 

919 Isis; comp. The Apology, xvi. [See p. 31, supra.] 

920 Consecrasse. 

921 Recontrans. 


288 



The Power of Rome. Romanized Aspect of All the Heathen Mythology. Varro's... 


Chapter IX. — The Power of Rome. Romanized Aspect of All the Heathen Mythology. 

Varro’s Threefold Distribution Criticised. Roman Heroes (XEneas Included,) 

Unfavourably Reviewed. 

Such are the more obvious or more remarkable points which we had to mention in 
connection with Varro’s threefold distribution of the gods, in order that a sufficient answer 
might seem to be given touching the physical, the poetic, and the gentile classes. Since, 
however, it is no longer to the philosophers, nor the poets, nor the nations that we owe the 
substitution of all (heathen worship for the true religion) although they transmitted the su- 
perstition, but to the dominant Romans, who received the tradition and gave it wide author- 
ity, another phase of the widespread error of man must now be encountered by us; nay, 
another forest must be felled hy our axe , which has obscured the childhood of the degenerate 
worship with germs of superstitions gathered from all quarters. Well, but even the gods 
of the Romans have received from (the same) Varro a threefold classification into the certain, 
the uncertain, and the select. What absurdity! What need had they of uncertain gods, when 
they possessed certain ones? Unless, forsooth, they wished to commit themselves to such 

folly as the Athenians did; for at Athens there was an altar with this inscription: “To the 
unknown gods .” 924 Does, then, a man worship that which he knows nothing of? Then, 
again, as they had certain gods, they ought to have been contented with them, without re- 
quiring select ones. In this want they are even found to be irreligious! For if gods are selected 
as onions are, then such as are not chosen are declared to be worthless. Now we on our 
part allow that the Romans had two sets of gods, common and proper; in other words, those 
which they had in common with other nations, and those which they themselves devised. 
And were not these called the public and the foreign gods? Their altars tell us so; there is 
(a specimen) of the foreign gods at the fane of Carna, of the public gods in the Palatium. 
Now, since their common gods are comprehended in both the physical and the mythic 
classes, we have already said enough concerning them. I should like to speak of their partic- 
ular kinds of deity. We ought then to admire the Romans for that third set of the gods of 
their enemies, because no other nation ever discovered for itself so large a mass of super- 
stition. Their other deities we arrange in two classes: those which have become gods from 


922 Vitii pueritatem. 

923 Recipere (with a dative). 

924 Ignotis Deis. Comp. Acts xvii. 23. 

925 Ut bulbi. This is the passage which Augustine quotes (de Civit. Dei , vii. 1) as “too facetious.” 

926 Adventicii, “coming from abroad.” 

927 Touching these gods of the vanquished nations, compare The Apology, xxv.; below, c. xvii.; Minucius 
Felix, Octav. xxv. 


289 


The Power of Rome. Romanized Aspect of All the Heathen Mythology. Varro's... 


human beings, and those which have had their origin in some other way. Now, since there 
is advanced the same colourable pretext for the deification of the dead, that their lives were 
meritorious, we are compelled to urge the same reply against them, that no one of them was 
worth so much pains. Their fond father /Eneas, in whom they believed, was never glorious, 

and was felled with a stone 929 — a vulgar weapon, to pelt a dog withal, inflicting a wound 
no less ignoble! But this /Eneas turns out 930 a traitor to his country; yes, quite as much as 
Antenor. And if they will not believe this to be true of him, he at any rate deserted his 
companions when his country was in flames, and must be held inferior to that woman of 

QO 1 

Carthage, who, when her husband Hasdrubal supplicated the enemy with the mild 
pusillanimity of our /Eneas, refused to accompany him, but hurrying her children along 

non 

with her, disdained to take her beautiful self and father’s noble heart into exile, but 
plunged into the flames of the burning Carthage, as if rushing into the embraces of her (dear 
but) ruined country. Is he “pious /Eneas” for (rescuing) his young only son and decrepit 
old father, but deserting Priam and Astyanax? But the Romans ought rather to detest him; 
for in defence of their princes and their royal 933 house, they surrender 934 even children and 

nor 

wives, and every dearest pledge. They deify the son of Venus, and this with the full 
knowledge and consent of her husband Vulcan, and without opposition from even Juno. 
Now, if sons have seats in heaven owing to their piety to their parents, why are not those 

nor 

noble youths of Argos rather accounted gods, because they, to save their mother from 
guilt in the performance of some sacred rites, with a devotion more than human, yoked 
themselves to her car and dragged her to the temple? Why not make a goddess, for her ex- 
ceeding piety, of that daughter who from her own breasts nourished her father who was 
famishing in prison? What other glorious achievement can be related of /Eneas, but that he 
was nowhere seen in the fight on the field of Laurentum? Following his bent, perhaps he 

QOO 

fled a second time as a fugitive from the battle. In like manner, Romulus posthumously 


928 Diligentem. 

929 See Homer, II. v. 300. 

930 Invenitur. 

931 Referred to also above, i. 18. 

932 The obscure “formam et patrem” is by Oehler rendered “pulchritudinem et generis nobilitatem.” 

933 The word is “eorum” (possessive of “principum”), not “suae.” 

934 Dejerant adversus. 

935 What Tertullian himself thinks on this point, see his de Corona, xi. 

936 Cleobis and Biton; see Herodotus i. 31. 

937 See Valerius Maximus, v. 4, 1. 

938 We need not stay to point out the unfairness of this statement, in contrast with the exploits of JEneas 
against Turnus, as detailed in the last books of the JEneid. 


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becomes a god. Was it because he founded the city? Then why not others also, who have 
built cities, counting even 939 women? To be sure, Romulus slew his brother in the bargain, 
and trickishly ravished some foreign virgins. Therefore of course he becomes a god, and 
therefore a Quirinus (“god of the spear”), because then their fathers had to use the spear 940 
on his account. What did Sterculus do to merit deification? If he worked hard to enrich the 
fields stercoribus , 941 (with manure,) Augias had more dung than he to bestow on them. If 
Faunus, the son of Picus, used to do violence to law and right, because struck with madness, 
it was more fit that he should be doctored than deified . 942 If the daughter of Faunus so ex- 
celled in chastity, that she would hold no conversation with men, it was perhaps from 
rudeness, or a consciousness of deformity, or shame for her father’s insanity. How much 
worthier of divine honour than this “good goddess ” 943 was Penelope, who, although 
dwelling among so many suitors of the vilest character, preserved with delicate tact the 
purity which they assailed! There is Sanctus, too , 944 who for his hospitality had a temple 
consecrated to him by king Plotius; and even Ulysses had it in his power to have bestowed 
one more god upon you in the person of the most refined Alcinous. 


939 Usque in. 

940 We have thus rendered “quiritatem est,” to preserve as far as one could the pun on the deified hero of 
the Quirites. 

941 We insert the Latin, to show the pun on Sterculus-, see The Apology, c. xxv. [See p. 40, supra.] 

942 Curaria quam consecrari. 

943 Bona Dea, i.e., the daughter of Faunus just mentioned. 

944 See Livy, viii. 20, xxxii. 1; Ovid, Fasti, vi. 213, etc. Compare also Augustine, de Civ. Dei, xviii. 19. [Tom, 
vii. p. 576.] 


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A Disgraceful Feature of the Roman Mythology. It Honours Such Infamous Characters... 


Chapter X. — A Disgraceful Feature of the Roman Mythology. It Honours Such In- 
famous Characters as Larentina. 

I hasten to even more abominable cases. Your writers have not been ashamed to publish 
that of Larentina. She was a hired prostitute, whether as the nurse of Romulus, and therefore 
called Lupa, because she was a prostitute, or as the mistress of Hercules, now deceased, that 
is to say, now deified. They 945 relate that his temple-warder 946 happened to be playing at 
dice in the temple alone; and in order to represent a partner for himself in the game, in the 
absence of an actual one, he began to play with one hand for Hercules and the other for 
himself. (The condition was,) that if he won the stakes from Hercules, he should with them 
procure a supper and a prostitute; if Hercules, however, proved the winner, I mean his 
other hand, then he should provide the same for Hercules. The hand of Hercules won. That 
achievement might well have been added to his twelve labours! The temple-warden buys 
a supper for the hero, and hires Larentina to play the whore. The fire which dissolved the 
body of even a Hercules 947 enjoyed the supper, and the altar consumed everything. Larentina 
sleeps alone in the temple; and she a woman from the brothel, boasts that in her dreams she 
had submitted herself to the pleasure of Hercules ; 948 and she might possibly have experienced 
this, as it passed through her mind, in her sleep. In the morning, on going out of the temple 
very early, she is solicited by a young man — “a third Hercules,” so to speak . 949 He invites 
her home. She complies, remembering that Hercules had told her that it would be for her 
advantage. He then, to be sure, obtains permission that they should be united in lawful 
wedlock (for none was allowed to have intercourse with the concubine of a god without 
being punished for it); the husband makes her his heir. By and by, just before her death, she 
bequeathed to the Roman people the rather large estate which she had obtained through 
Hercules. After this she sought deification for her daughters too, whom indeed the divine 
Larentina ought to have appointed her heirs also. The gods of the Romans received an ac- 
cession in her dignity. For she alone of all the wives of Hercules was dear to him, because 
she alone was rich; and she was even far more fortunate than Ceres, who contributed to the 
pleasure of the (king of the) dead 950 After so many examples and eminent names among 
you, who might not have been declared divine? Who, in fact, ever raised a question as to 


945 Compare Augustine, de Civ. Dei , vi. 7. [Tom. vii. p. 184.] 

946 TEditum ejus. 

947 That is, when he mounted the pyre. 

948 Herculi functam. “Fungi alicui” means to satisfy, or yield to. 

949 The well-known Greek saying, ’AAAo q ouroq 'HpaKArjq 

950 Pluto; Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres, is meant. Oehler once preferred to read, “Hebe, quae mortuo 
placuit,” i.e., “than Hebe, who gratified Hercules after death.” 


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A Disgraceful Feature of the Roman Mythology. It Honours Such Infamous Characters... 


his divinity against Antinous ? 951 Was even Ganymede more grateful and dear than he to 
(the supreme god) who loved him? According to you, heaven is open to the dead. You 
prepare a way from Hades to the stars. Prostitutes mount it in all directions, so that you 
must not suppose that you are conferring a great distinction upon your kings. 


951 Tertullian often refers indignantly to this atrocious case. 

952 Subigitis. 


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The Romans Provided Gods for Birth, Nay, Even Before Birth, to Death. Much... 


Chapter XI. — The Romans Provided Gods for Birth, Nay, Even Before Birth, to 

Death. Much Indelicacy in This System. 

And you are not content to assert the divinity of such as were once known to you, whom 
you heard and handled, and whose portraits have been painted, and actions recounted, and 
memory retained amongst you; but men insist upon consecrating with a heavenly life I 
know not what incorporeal, inanimate shadows, and the mere names of things — dividing 
man’s entire existence amongst separate powers even from his conception in the womb: so 
that there is a god Consevius , 954 to preside over concubital generation; and Fluviona , 955 to 
preserve the (growth of the) infant in the womb; after these come Vitumnus and Sentinus , 956 
through whom the babe begins to have life and its earliest sensation; then Diespiter, by 
whose office the child accomplishes its birth. But when women begin their parturition, 
Candelifera also comes in aid, since childbearing requires the light of the candle; and other 
goddesses there are who get their names from the parts they bear in the stages of travail. 
There were two Carmentas likewise, according to the general view: to one of them, called 
Postverta, belonged the function of assisting the birth of the introverted child; while the 
other, Prosa , 959 executed the like office for the rightly born. The god Farinus was so called 
from (his inspiring) the first utterance; while others believed in Locutius from his gift of 
speech. Cunina 960 is present as the protector of the child’s deep slumber, and supplies to it 
refreshing rest. To lift them (when fallen ) 961 there is Levana, and along with her Rumina . 962 
It is a wonderful oversight that no gods were appointed for cleaning up the filth of children. 
Then, to preside over their first pap and earliest drink you have Potina and Edula; ' to 
teach the child to stand erect is the work of Statina , 964 whilst Adeona helps him to come to 


953 Efflagitant coelo et sanciunt, (i.e., “they insist on deifying.”) 

954 Comp. Augustine, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9. 

955 A name of Juno, in reference to her office to mothers, “quia earn sanguinis fluorem in conceptu retinere 
putabant.” Comp. August, de Civ. Dei, iii. 2. 

956 Comp. August, de Civ. Dei, vii. 2, 3. 

957 Comp. August, de Civ. Dei, iv. 11. 

958 Such as Lucina, Partula, Nona, Decima, Alemona. 

959 Or, Prorsa. 

960 “Quae infantes in cunis (in their cradle) tuetur.” Comp. August, de Civ. Dei, iv. 11. 

961 Educatrix; Augustine says: “Ipse levet de terra et vocetur dea Levana” (de Civ. Dei, iv. 11). 

962 From the old word ruma, a teat. 

963 Comp. August, de Civ. Dei, iv. 9, 1 1, 36. 

964 See also Tertullian’s de Anima,xxxix.; and Augustine’s de Civ. Dei , iv. 21, where the god has the masculine 
name of Statilinus. 


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The Romans Provided Gods for Birth, Nay, Even Before Birth, to Death. Much... 


dear Mamma, and Abeona to toddle off again; then there is Domiduca , 965 (to bring home 
the bride;) and the goddess Mens, to influence the mind to either good or evil . 966 They have 
likewise Volumnus and Voleta, to control the will; Paventina, (the goddess) of fear; 
Venilia, of hope ; 968 Volupia, of pleasure ; 969 Praestitia, of beauty . 970 Then, again, they give 
his name to Peragenor, from his teaching men to go through their work; to Consus, from 
his suggesting to them counsel. Juventa is their guide on assuming the manly gown, and 
“bearded Fortune” when they come to full manhood. If I must touch on their nuptial 
duties, there is Afferenda whose appointed function is to see to the offering of the dower; 
but fie on you! you have your Mutunus 973 and Tutunus and Pertunda 974 and Subigus and 
the goddess Prema and likewise Perfica. O spare yourselves, ye impudent gods! No one 
is present at the secret struggles of married life. Those very few persons who have a wish 
that way, go away and blush for very shame in the midst of their joy. 


965 See Augustine, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9 and vii. 3. 

966 Ibid. iv. 21, vii. 3. 

967 Ibid. iv. 21. 

968 Ibid. iv. 11, vii. 22. 

969 Ibid. iv. 11. [N.B. — Augustine’s borrowing from our author.] 

970 Arnobius, adv. Nationes, iv. 3. 

971 Augustine, de Civ. Dei. [iv. 11 and 16] mentions Agenoria. 

972 On Fortuna Barbata, see Augustine, de Civ. Dei, iv. 11, where he also names Consus and Juventa. 

973 Tertullian, in Apol. xxv. sarcastically says, “Sterculus, and Mutunus, and Larentina, have raised the empire 
to its present height.” 

974 Arnobius, adv. Nationes, iv. 7, 1 1; August, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9. 

975 For these three gods, see Augustine, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9; and Arnobius, adv. Nationes, iv. 7. 


295 



The Original Deities Were Human- -With Some Very Questionable Characteristics.... 


Chapter XII. 976 — The Original Deities Were Human — With Some Very Questionable 
Characteristics. Saturn or Time Was Human. Inconsistencies of Opinion About 
Him. 

Now, how much further need I go in recounting your gods — because I want to descant 
on the character of such as you have adopted? It is quite uncertain whether I shall laugh at 
your absurdity, or upbraid you for your blindness. For how many, and indeed what, gods 
shall I bring forward? Shall it be the greater ones, or the lesser? The old ones, or the novel? 
The male, or the female? The unmarried, or such as are joined in wedlock? The clever, or 

077 

the unskilful? The rustic or the town ones? The national or the foreign? For the truth is, 
there are so many families, so many nations, which require a catalogue (of gods), that 
they cannot possibly be examined, or distinguished, or described. But the more diffuse the 
subject is, the more restriction must we impose on it. As, therefore, in this review we keep 
before us but one object — that of proving that all these gods were once human beings (not, 
indeed, to instruct you in the fact , 979 for your conduct shows that you have forgotten it) — let 
us adopt our compendious summary from the most natural method 980 of conducting the 
examination, even by considering the origin of their race. For the origin characterizes all 

no 1 

that comes after it. Now this origin of your gods dates, I suppose, from Saturn. And when 

Varro mentions Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, as the most ancient of the gods, it ought not to 
have escaped our notice, that every father is more ancient than his sons, and that Saturn 
therefore must precede Jupiter, even as Coelus does Saturn, for Saturn was sprung from 
Coelus and Terra. I pass by, however, the origin of Coelus and Terra. They led in some un- 
accountable way single lives, and had no children. Of course they required a long time 

QQO 

for vigorous growth to attain to such a stature. ' By and by, as soon as the voice of Coelus 
began to break , 984 and the breasts of Terra to become firm , 985 they contract marriage with 
one another. I suppose either Heaven came down to his spouse, or Earth went up to 


976 Agrees with The Apology, c. x. 

977 Bona fide. 

978 Censum. 

979 There is here an omitted clause, supplied in The Apology, “but rather to recall it to your memory.” 

980 Ab ipsa ratione. 

981 Signatur. 

982 Undeunde. 

983 Tantam proceritatem. 

984 Insolescere, i.e., at the commencement of puberty. 

985 Lapilliscere, i.e., to indicate maturity. 

986 The nominative “coelum” is used. 


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The Original Deities Were Human- -With Some Very Questionable Characteristics.... 


meet her lord. Be that as it may, Earth conceived seed of Heaven, and when her year was 
fulfilled brought forth Saturn in a wonderful manner. Which of his parents did he resemble? 
Well, then, even after parentage began, it is certain that they had no child previous to 
Saturn, and only one daughter afterwards — Ops; thenceforth they ceased to procreate. The 
truth is, Saturn castrated Coelus as he was sleeping. We read this name Coelus as of the 
masculine gender. And for the matter of that, how could he be a father unless he were a 
male? But with what instrument was the castration effected? He had a scythe. What, so early 
as that? For Vulcan was not yet an artificer in iron. The widowed Terra, however, although 
still quite young, was in no hurry 989 to marry another. Indeed, there was no second Coelus 
for her. What but Ocean offers her an embrace? But he savours of brackishness, and she has 
been accustomed to fresh water . 990 And so Saturn is the sole male child of Coelus and Terra. 
When grown to puberty, he marries his own sister. No laws as yet prohibited incest, nor 
punished parricide. Then, when male children were born to him, he would devour them; 
better himself (should take them) than the wolves, (for to these would they become a prey) 
if he exposed them. He was, no doubt, afraid that one of them might learn the lesson of his 
father’s scythe. When Jupiter was born in course of time, he was removed out of the way : 991 
(the father) swallowed a stone instead of the son, as was pretended. This artifice secured his 
safety for a time; but at length the son, whom he had not devoured, and who had grown up 
in secret, fell upon him, and deprived him of his kingdom. Such, then, is the patriarch of 
the gods whom Heaven 992 and Earth produced for you, with the poets officiating as midwives. 
Now some persons with a refined 993 imagination are of opinion that, by this allegorical 
fable of Saturn, there is a physiological representation of Time: (they think) that it is because 
all things are destroyed by Time, that Coelus and Terra were themselves parents without 
having any of their own, and that the (fatal) scythe was used, and that (Saturn) devoured 
his own offspring, because he , 994 in fact, absorbs within himself all things which have issued 
from him. They call in also the witness of his name; for they say that he is called Kpovoq in 
Greek, meaning the same thing as xpovop . 995 His Latin name also they derive from seed- 


987 It is not very clear what is the force of “sed et pepererit,” as read by Oehler; we have given the clause an 
impersonal turn. 

988 “Certe” is sometime “certo” in our author. 

989 Distulit. 

990 That is, to rain and cloud. 

991 Abalienato. 

992 The word is “coelum” here. 

993 Eleganter. 

994 i.e., as representing Time. 

995 So Augustine, de Civ. Dei, iv. 10; Arnobius, adv. Nationes, iii. 29; Cicero, de Nat. Deor. ii. 25. 


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The Original Deities Were Human- -With Some Very Questionable Characteristics.... 


sowing ; 996 for they suppose him to have been the actual procreator — that the seed, in fact, 
was dropt down from heaven to earth by his means. They unite him with Ops, because seeds 
produce the affluent treasure ( Opem ) of actual life, and because they develope with labour 
(Opus). Now I wish that you would explain this metaphorical 997 statement. It was either 
Saturn or Time. If it was Time, how could it be Saturn? If he, how could it be Time? For 
you cannot possibly reckon both these corporeal subjects 998 as co-existing in one person. 
What, however, was there to prevent your worshipping Time under its proper quality? Why 
not make a human person, or even a mythic man, an object of your adoration, but each in 
its proper nature not in the character of Time? What is the meaning of that conceit of your 
mental ingenuity, if it be not to colour the foulest matters with the feigned appearance of 
reasonable proofs ? 999 Neither, on the one hand, do you mean Saturn to be Time, because 
you say he is a human being; nor, on the other hand, whilst portraying him as Time, do you 
on that account mean that he was ever human. No doubt, in the accounts of remote antiquity 
your god Saturn is plainly described as living on earth in human guise. Anything whatever 
may obviously be pictured as incorporeal which never had an existence; there is simply no 
room for such fiction, where there is reality. Since, therefore, there is clear evidence that 
Saturn once existed, it is in vain that you change his character. He whom you will not deny 
to have once been man, is not at your disposal to be treated anyhow, nor can it be maintained 
that he is either divine or Time. In every page of your literature the origin 1000 of Saturn is 
conspicuous. We read of him in Cassius Severus and in the Corneliuses, Nepos and Tacit- 
us , 1001 and, amongst the Greeks also, in Diodorus, and all other compilers of ancient an- 
nals . 1002 No more faithful records of him are to be traced than in Italy itself. For, after (tra- 
versing) many countries, and (enjoying) the hospitality of Athens, he settled in Italy, or, as 
it was called, CEnotria, having met with a kind welcome from Janus, or Janes , 1003 as the Salii 
call him. The hill on which he settled had the name Saturnius, whilst the city which he 
founded 1004 still bears the name Saturnia; in short, the whole of Italy once had the same 
designation. Such is the testimony derived from that country which is now the mistress of 
the world: whatever doubt prevails about the origin of Saturn, his actions tell us plainly that 


996 As if from “sero,” satum. 

997 Translatio. 

998 Utrumque corporale. 

999 Mentitis argumentationibus. 

1000 Census. 

1001 See his Histories , v. 2, 4. 

1002 Antiquitatem canos, “hoary antiquity.” 

1003 Jano sive Jane. 

1004 Depalaverat, “marked out with stakes.” 


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he was a human being. Since, therefore, Saturn was human, he came undoubtedly from a 
human stock; and more, because he was a man, he, of course, came not of Coelus and Terra. 
Some people, however, found it easy enough to call him, whose parents were unknown, the 
son of those gods from whom all may in a sense seem to be derived. For who is there that 
does not speak under a feeling of reverence of the heaven and the earth as his own father 
and mother? Or, in accordance with a custom amongst men, which induces them to say of 
any who are unknown or suddenly apparent, that “they came from the sky?” Hence it 
happened that, because a stranger appeared suddenly everywhere, it became the custom to 
call him a heaven-born man, 1005 — just as we also commonly call earth-born all those whose 
descent is unknown. I say nothing of the fact that such was the state of antiquity, when 
men’s eyes and minds were so habitually rude, that they were excited by the appearance of 
every newcomer as if it were that of a god: much more would this be the case with a king, 
and that the primeval one. I will linger some time longer over the case of Saturn, because 
by fully discussing his primordial history I shall beforehand furnish a compendious answer 
for all other cases; and I do not wish to omit the more convincing testimony of your sacred 
literature, the credit of which ought to be the greater in proportion to its antiquity. Now 
earlier than all literature was the Sibyl; that Sibyl, I mean, who was the true prophetess of 
truth, from whom you borrow their title for the priests of your demons. She in senarian 
verse expounds the descent of Saturn and his exploits in words to this effect: “In the tenth 
generation of men, after the flood had overwhelmed the former race, reigned Saturn, and 
Titan, and Japetus, the bravest of the sons of Terra and Coelus.” Whatever credit, therefore, 
is attached to your older writers and literature, and much more to those who were the 
simplest as belonging to that age , 1006 it becomes sufficiently certain that Saturn and his 
family 1007 were human beings. We have in our possession, then, a brief principle which 
amounts to a prescriptive rule about their origin serving for all other cases, to prevent our 
going wrong in individual instances. The particular character 1008 of a posterity is shown by 
the original founders of the race — mortal beings (come) from mortals, earthly ones from 
earthly; step after step comes in due relation 1009 — marriage, conception, birth — country, 
settlements, kingdoms, all give the clearest proofs . 1010 They, therefore who cannot deny the 
birth of men, must also admit their death; they who allow their mortality must not suppose 
them to be gods. 


1005 Coelitem. 

1006 Magis proximis quoniam illius aetatis. 

1007 Prosapia. 

1008 Qualitas. [n.b. Our author’s use of Prcescriptio.] 

1009 Comparantur. 

1010 Monumenta liquent. 


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The Gods Human at First. Who Had the Authority to Make Them Divine? Jupiter... 


Chapter XIII. 1011 — The Gods Human at First. Who Had the Authority to Make 

Them Divine? Jupiter Not Only Human, But Immoral. 

Manifest cases, indeed, like these have a force peculiarly their own. Men like Varro and 
his fellow-dreamers admit into the ranks of the divinity those whom they cannot assert to 
have been in their primitive condition anything but men; (and this they do) by affirming 
that they became gods after their death. Here, then, I take my stand. If your gods were 
elected 1012 to this dignity and deity , 1013 just as you recruit the ranks of your senate, you 
cannot help conceding, in your wisdom, that there must be some one supreme sovereign 
who has the power of selecting, and is a kind of Caesar; and nobody is able to confer 1014 on 
others a thing over which he has not absolute control. Besides, if they were able to make 
gods of themselves after their death, pray tell me why they chose to be in an inferior condition 
at first? Or, again, if there is no one who made them gods, how can they be said to have been 
made such, if they could only have been made by some one else? There is therefore no 
ground afforded you for denying that there is a certain wholesale distributor 1015 of divinity. 
Let us accordingly examine the reasons for despatching mortal beings to heaven. I suppose 
you will produce a pair of them. Whoever, then, is the awarder (of the divine honours), ex- 
ercises his function, either that he may have some supports, or defences, or ft may be even 
ornaments to his own dignity; or from the pressing claims of the meritorious, that he may 
reward all the deserving. No other cause is ft permitted us to conjecture. Now there is no 
one who, when bestowing a gift on another, does not act with a view to his own interest or 
the other’s. This conduct, however, cannot be worthy of the Divine Being, inasmuch as His 
power is so great that He can make gods outright; whilst His bringing man into such request, 
on the pretence that he requires the aid and support of certain, even dead persons, is a 
strange conceit, since He was able from the very first to create for Himself immortal beings. 
He who has compared human things with divine will require no further arguments on these 
points. And yet the latter opinion ought to be discussed, that God conferred divine honours 
in consideration of meritorious claims. Well, then, if the award was made on such grounds, 
if heaven was opened to men of the primitive age because of their deserts, we must reflect 
that after that time no one was worthy of such honour; except it be, that there is now no 
longer such a place for any one to attain to. Let us grant that anciently men may have deserved 
heaven by reason of their great merits. Then let us consider whether there really was such 
merit. Let the man who alleges that it did exist declare his own view of merit. Since the ac- 


1011 Comp. The Apology, c. xi. [p. 27. Supra.] 

1012 Allecti. 

1013 This is not so terse as Tertullian’s “nomen et numen.” 

1014 Praestare. 

1015 Mancipem. 


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The Gods Human at First. Who Had the Authority to Make Them Divine? Jupiter... 


tions of men done in the very infancy of time 1016 are a valid claim for their deification, you 
consistently admitted to the honour the brother and sister who were stained with the sin of 
incest — Ops and Saturn. Your Jupiter too, stolen in his infancy, was unworthy of both the 
home and the nutriment accorded to human beings; and, as he deserved for so bad a child, 
he had to live in Crete . 1017 Afterwards, when full-grown, he dethrones his own father, who, 
whatever his parental character may have been, was most prosperous in his reign, king as 
he was of the golden age. Under him, a stranger to toil and want, peace maintained its joyous 
and gentle sway; under him — 

“Nulli subigebant arva coloni ;” 1018 

“No swains would bring the fields beneath their sway ;” 1019 

and without the importunity of any one the earth would bear all crops spontaneously . 1020 
But he hated a father who had been guilty of incest, and had once mutilated his 1021 grand- 
father. And yet, behold, he himself marries his own sister; so that I should suppose the old 
adage was made for him: Tou irarpoc; to natSfov — “Father’s own child.” There was “not a 
pin to choose” between the father’s piety and the son’s. If the laws had been just even at that 
early time, Jupiter ought to have been “sewed up in both sacks.” After this corrob- 
oration of his lust with incestuous gratification, why should he hesitate to indulge himself 
lavishly in the lighter excesses of adultery and debauchery? Ever since 1024 poetry sported 
thus with his character, in some such way as is usual when a runaway slave 1025 is posted up 
in public, we have been in the habit of gossiping without restraint of his tricks in 
our chat with passers-by; sometimes sketching him out in the form of the very money 
which was the fee of his debauchery — as when (he personated) a bull, or rather paid the 


1016 In cunabulis temporalitatis. 

1017 The ill-fame of the Cretans is noted by St. Paul, Tit. i. 12. 

1018 Virgil, Georg, i. 125. 

1019 Sewell. 

1020 Ipsa. 

1021 Jupiter’s, of course. 

1022 The law which prescribed the penalty of the paracide, that he be sewed up in a sack with an ape, a serpent, 
and a cock, and be thrown into the sea. 

1023 In duos culleos dividi. 

1024 De quo. 

1025 De fugitivo. 

1026 Abusui nundinare. 

1027 The “operam e)us”=ingenia et artificia (Oehler). 

1028 Percontationi alienae. 


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money’s worth of one , 1029 and showered (gold) into the maiden’s chamber, or rather forced 
his way in with a bribe ; 1030 sometimes (figuring him) in the very likenesses of the parts 

i m i i 03? 

which were acted — as the eagle which ravished (the beautiful youth), and the swan 
which sang (the enchanting song). Well now, are not such fables as these made up of 
the most disgusting intrigues and the worst of scandals? or would not the morals and tempers 
of men be likely to become wanton from such examples? In what manner demons, the off- 
spring of evil angels who have been long engaged in their mission, have laboured to turn 
men 1034 aside from the faith to unbelief and to such fables, we must not in this place speak 
of to any extent. As indeed the general body 1035 (of your gods), which took their cue 1036 
from their kings, and princes, and instructors, was not of the self-same nature, it was 
in some other way that similarity of character was exacted by their authority. But how 
much the worst of them was he who (ought to have been, but) was not, the best of them? 
By a title peculiar to him, you are indeed in the habit of calling Jupiter “the Best ,” 1039 whilst 
in Virgil he is “/Equus Jupiter .” 1040 All therefore were like him — incestuous towards their 
own kith and kin, unchaste to strangers, impious, unjust! Now he whom mythic story left 
untainted with no conspicuous infamy, was not worthy to be made a god. 


1029 In the case of Europa. 

1030 In the case of Danae. 

1031 Similitudines actuum ipsas. 

1032 In the case of Ganymede. 

1033 In the case of Leda. 

1034 Quos. 

1035 Plebs. 

1036 Morata. 

1037 Proseminatoribus. 

1038 Alibi. 

1039 Optimum. 

1040 There would seem to be a jest here; “aequus” is not only just but equal, i.e., “on a par with” others — in 
evil, of course, as well as good. 


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Gods, Those Which Were Confessedly Elevated to the Divine Condition, What... 


Chapter XIV. — Gods, Those Which Were Confessedly Elevated to the Divine Con- 
dition, What Pre-Eminent Right Had They to Such Honour? Hercules an Inferior 

Character. 

But since they will have it that those who have been admitted from the human state to 
the honours of deification should be kept separate from others, and that the distinction 
which Dionysius the Stoic drew should be made between the native and the factitious 1041 
gods, I will add a few words concerning this last class also. I will take Hercules himself for 
raising the gist of a reply 1042 (to the question) whether he deserved heaven and divine 
honours? For, as men choose to have it, these honours are awarded to him for his merits. 
If it was for his valour in destroying wild beasts with intrepidity, what was there in that so 
very memorable? Do not criminals condemned to the games, though they are even consigned 
to the contest of the vile arena, despatch several of these animals at one time, and that with 
more earnest zeal? If it was for his world-wide travels, how often has the same thing been 
accomplished by the rich at their pleasant leisure, or by philosophers in their slave-like 
poverty ? 1043 Is it forgotten that the cynic Asclepiades on a single sorry cow , 1044 riding on 
her back, and sometimes nourished at her udder, surveyed 1045 the whole world with a per- 
sonal inspection? Even if Hercules visited the infernal regions, who does not know that the 
way to Hades is open to all? If you have deified him on account of his much carnage and 
many battles, a much greater number of victories was gained by the illustrious Pompey, the 
conqueror of the pirates who had not spared Ostia itself in their ravages; and (as to carnage), 
how many thousands, let me ask, were cooped up in one corner of the citadel 1 046 of Carthage, 
and slain by Scipio? Wherefore Scipio has a better claim to be considered a fit candidate 
for deification 1047 than Hercules. You must be still more careful to add to the claims of 
(our) Hercules his debaucheries with concubines and wives, and the swathes 1048 of Omphale, 
and his base desertion of the Argonauts because he had lost his beautiful boy . 1049 To this 
mark of baseness add for his glorification likewise his attacks of madness, adore the arrows 
which slew his sons and wife. This was the man who, after deeming himself worthy of a fu- 


1041 Inter nativos et factos. See above, c. ii., p. 131. 

1042 Summa responsionis. 

1043 Famulatoria mendicitas. 

1044 Vaccula. 

1045 Subegisse oculis, “reduced to his own eyesight.” 

1046 Byrsae. 

1047 Magis obtinendus divinitati deputatur. 

1048 Fascias. 

1049 Hylas. 


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Gods, Those Which Were Confessedly Elevated to the Divine Condition, What... 


neral pile in the anguish of his remorse for his parricides , 1050 deserved rather to die the 
unhonoured death which awaited him, arrayed in the poisoned robe which his wife sent 
him on account of his lascivious attachment (to another). You, however, raised him from 
the pyre to the sky, with the same facility with which (you have distinguished in like manner) 
another hero 1051 also, who was destroyed by the violence of a fire from the gods. He having 
devised some few experiments, was said to have restored the dead to life by his cures. He 
was the son of Apollo, half human, although the grandson of Jupiter, and great-grandson 
of Saturn (or rather of spurious origin, because his parentage was uncertain, as Socrates of 
Argon has related; he was exposed also, and found in a worse tutelage than even Jove’s, 
suckled even at the dugs of a dog); nobody can deny that he deserved the end which befell 
him when he perished by a stroke of lightning. In this transaction, however, your most ex- 
cellent Jupiter is once more found in the wrong — impious to his grandson, envious of his 
artistic skill. Pindar, indeed, has not concealed his true desert; according to him, he was 
punished for his avarice and love of gain, influenced by which he would bring the living to 
their death, rather than the dead to life, by the perverted use of his medical art which he put 
up for sale . 1052 It is said that his mother was killed by the same stroke, and it was only right 
that she, who had bestowed so dangerous a beast on the world , 1053 should escape to heaven 
by the same ladder. And yet the Athenians will not be at a loss how to sacrifice to gods of 
such a fashion, for they pay divine honours to /Esculapius and his mother amongst their 
dead (worthies). As if, too, they had not ready to hand 1054 their own Theseus to worship, 
so highly deserving a god’s distinction! Well, why not? Did he not on a foreign shore abandon 


1050 Rather murders of children and other kindred. 

1051 Hlsculapius. 

1052 Tertullian does not correctly quote Pindar ( Pyth . iii. 54-59), who notices the skilful hero’s love of reward, 
but certainly ascribes to him the merit of curing rather than killing: AXka KepSet kou a ocpta SeSerat erpaitev 
teat kockeIvov ayavopt pia9u> xpfodq ev yepotv cpaveic; av5p ex Savarou Koptaat r)5q aAwKora- xepH 5’ apa 
Kpovltov pfijaiq 51 apcpolv aptivoav arcpvwv xaSeAev wxeux;, ai'0wv 5e tcepauvoq eveaKipvJjcv popov— “Even 
wisdom has been bound by love of gain, and gold shining in the hand by a magnificent reward induced even 
him to restore from death a man already seized by it; and then the son of Saturn, hurling with his hands a bolt 
through both, speedily took away the breath of their breasts, and the flashing bolt inflicted death” (Dawson 
Turner). 

1053 Tertullian does not follow the legend which is usually received. He wishes to see no good in the object 
of his hatred, and so takes the worst view, and certainly improves upon it. The “bestia” is out of reason. [He 
doubtless followed some copy now lost.] 

1054 Quasi non et ipsi. 


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Gods, Those Which Were Confessedly Elevated to the Divine Condition, What... 


the preserver of his life , 1055 with the same indifference, nay heartlessness , 1056 with which 
he became the cause of his father’s death? 


1055 Ariadne. 

1056 Amentia. 


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The Constellations and the Genii Very Indifferent Gods. The Roman Monopoly... 


Chapter XV. — The Constellations and the Genii Very Indifferent Gods. The Roman 

Monopoly of Gods Unsatisfactory. Other Nations Require Deities Quite as Much. 

It would be tedious to take a survey of all those, too, whom you have buried amongst 
the constellations, and audaciously minister to as gods . 1057 I suppose your Castors, and 
Perseus, and Erigona , 1058 have just the same claims for the honours of the sky as Jupiter’s 
own big boy 1059 had. But why should we wonder? You have transferred to heaven even 
dogs, and scorpions, and crabs. I postpone all remarks 1060 concerning those whom you 
worship in your oracles. That this worship exists, is attested by him who pronounces the 
oracle . 1061 Why; you will have your gods to be spectators even of sadness , 1062 as is Viduus, 
who makes a widow of the soul, by parting it from the body, and whom you have condemned, 
by not permitting him to be enclosed within your city- walls; there is Caeculus also, to deprive 
the eyes of their perception; and Orbana, to bereave seed of its vital power; moreover, there 
is the goddess of death herself. To pass hastily by all others , 1063 you account as gods the 
sites of places or of the city; such are Father Janus (there being, moreover, the archer-god- 
dess 1064 Jana 1065 ), and Septimontius of the seven hills. 

Men sacrifice 1066 to the same Genii, whilst they have altars or temples in the same places; 
but to others besides, when they dwell in a strange place, or live in rented houses . 1067 I say 
nothing about Ascensus, who gets his name for his climbing propensity, and Clivicola, from 
her sloping (haunts); I pass silently by the deities called Forculus from doors, and Cardea 
from hinges, and Fimentinus the god of thresholds, and whatever others are worshipped 
by your neighbours as tutelar deities of their street doors . 1068 There is nothing strange in 
this, since men have their respective gods in their brothels, their kitchens, and even in their 


1057 Deis ministratis. 

1058 The constellation Virgo. 

1059 Jovis exoletus, Ganymede, or Aquarius. 

1060 He makes a similar postponement above, in c. vii., to The Apology, cc. xxii. xxiii. 

1061 Divini. 

1062 Et tristitias arbitros. 

1063 Transvolem. 

1064 Diva arquis. 

1065 Perhaps another form of Diana. 

1066 Faciunt = pRouot. 

1067 This seems to be the meaning of an almost unintelligible sentence, which we subjoin: “Geniis eisdem 
illi faciunt qui in isdem locis aras vel tedes habent; prteterea aliis qui in alieno loco aut mercedibus habitant.” 
Oehler, who makes this text, supposes that in each clause the name of some god has dropped out. 

1068 Numinum janitorum. 


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The Constellations and the Genii Very Indifferent Gods. The Roman Monopoly... 


prison. Heaven, therefore, is crowded with innumerable gods of its own, both these and 
others belonging to the Romans, which have distributed amongst them the functions of 
one’s whole life, in such a way that there is no want of the other 1069 gods. Although, it is 
true , 1070 the gods which we have enumerated are reckoned as Roman peculiarly, and as not 
easily recognised abroad; yet how do all those functions and circumstances, over which men 
have willed their gods to preside, come about , 1071 in every part of the human race, and in 
every nation, where their guarantees are not only without an official recognition, but 
even any recognition at all? 


1069 

1070 

1071 


Ceteris. 


1072 


Immo cum. 
Proveniunt. 
Praedes. 


307 



Inventors of Useful Arts Unworthy of Deification. They Would Be the First... 


Chapter XVI. — Inventors of Useful Arts Unworthy of Deification. They Would Be 
the First to Acknowledge a Creator. The Arts Changeable from Time to Time, 
and Some Become Obsolete. 

1 073 

Well, but certain men have discovered fruits and sundry necessaries of life, (and 
hence are worthy of deification ) . 1074 Now let me ask, when you call these persons “discover- 
ers,” do you not confess that what they discovered was already in existence? Why then do 
you not prefer to honour the Author, from whom the gifts really come, instead of converting 
the Author into mere discoverers? Previously he who made the discover, the inventor himself 
no doubt expressed his gratitude to the Author; no doubt, too, he felt that He was God, to 
whom really belonged the religious service , 1075 as the Creator (of the gift), by whom also 
both he who discovered and that which was discovered were alike created. The green fig 
of Africa nobody at Rome had heard of when Cato introduced it to the Senate, in order that 
he might show how near was that province of the enemy 1076 whose subjugation he was 
constantly urging. The cherry was first made common in Italy by Cn. Pompey, who imported 
it from Pontus. I might possibly have thought the earliest introducers of apples amongst 
the Romans deserving of the public honour of deification. This, however, would be as 
foolish a ground for making gods as even the invention of the useful arts. And yet if the 
skilful men of our own time be compared with these, how much more suitable would 
deification be to the later generation than to the former! For, tell me, have not all the extant 
inventions superseded antiquity , 1079 whilst daily experience goes on adding to the new 
stock? Those, therefore, whom you regard as divine because of their arts, you are really in- 
juring by your very arts, and challenging (their divinity) by means of rival attainments, 
which cannot be surpassed . 1080 


1073 Sedenim. 

1074 We insert this clause at Oehler’s suggestion. 

1075 Ministerium. 

1076 The incident, which was closely connected with the third Punic war, is described pleasandy by Pliny, 
Hist. Nat. xv. 20. 

1077 Praeconium. 

1078 Artifices. 

1079 “Antiquitas” is here opposed to “no vitas,” and therefore means “the arts of old times.” 

1080 In aemulis. “In,” in our author, often marks the instrument. 


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Conclusion, the Romans Owe Not Their Imperial Power to Their Gods. The Great... 


Chapter XVII. 1081 — Conclusion, the Romans Owe Not Their Imperial Power to 
Their Gods. The Great God Alone Dispenses Kingdoms, He is the God of the 
Christians. 

In conclusion, without denying all those whom antiquity willed and posterity has believed 
to be gods, to be the guardians of your religion, there yet remains for our consideration that 
very large assumption of the Roman superstitions which we have to meet in opposition to 
you, O heathen, viz. that the Romans have become the lords and masters of the whole world, 
because by their religious offices they have merited this dominion to such an extent that 
they are within a very little of excelling even their own gods in power. One cannot wonder 
that Sterculus, and Mutunus, and Larentina, have severally “ advanced this empire to its 
height! The Roman people has been by its gods alone ordained to such dominion. For I 
could not imagine that any foreign gods would have preferred doing more for a strange nation 
than for their own people, and so by such conduct become the deserters and neglecters, nay, 
the betrayers of the native land wherein they were born and bred, and ennobled and buried. 
Thus not even Jupiter could suffer his own Crete to be subdued by the Roman fasces, forget- 
ting that cave of Ida, and the brazen cymbals of the Corybantes, and the most pleasant odour 
of the goat which nursed him on that dear spot. Would he not have made that tomb of his 
superior to the whole Capitol, so that that land should most widely rule which covered the 
ashes of Jupiter? Would Juno, too, be willing that the Punic city, for the love of which she 
even neglected Samos, should be destroyed, and that, too, by the fires of the sons of /Eneas? 
Although I am well aware that 

“Hie illius arma, 

Hie currus fuit, hoc regnum des gentibus esse, 

Si qua fata sinant, jam tunc tenditque fovetque.” 

“Here were her arms, her chariot here, 

Here goddess-like, to fix one day 
The seat of universal sway, 

Might fate be wrung to yield assent, 

E’en then her schemes, her cares were bent .” 1084 

Still the unhappy (queen of gods) had no power against the fates! And yet the Romans 
did not accord as much honour to the fates, although they gave them Carthage, as they did 



1081 Compare The Apology, xxv. xxvi., pp. 39, 40. 

1082 The verb is in the singular number. 

1083 AEneid, i. 16-20. 

1084 Conington. 


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Conclusion, the Romans Owe Not Their Imperial Power to Their Gods. The Great... 


to Larentina. But surely those gods of yours have not the power of conferring empire. For 
when Jupiter reigned in Crete, and Saturn in Italy, and Isis in Egypt, it was even as men that 
they reigned, to whom also were assigned many to assist them . 1085 Thus he who serves also 
makes masters, and the bond-slave of Admetus aggrandizes with empire the citizens 
of Rome, although he destroyed his own liberal votary Croesus by deceiving him with am- 
biguous oracles. Being a god, why was he afraid boldly to foretell to him the truth that 
he must lose his kingdom. Surely those who were aggrandized with the power of wielding 
empire might always have been able to keep an eye, as it were , 1089 on their own cities. If 
they were strong enough to confer empire on the Romans, why did not Minerva defend 
Athens from Xerxes? Or why did not Apollo rescue Delphi out of the hand of Pyrrhus? They 
who lost their own cities preserve the city of Rome, since (forsooth) the religiousness 1090 
of Rome has merited the protection! But is it not rather the fact that this excessive devo- 
tion 1091 has been devised since the empire has attained its glory by the increase of its power? 
No doubt sacred rites were introduced by Numa, but then your proceedings were not marred 
by a religion of idols and temples. Piety was simple , 1092 and worship humble; altars were 
artlessly reared , 1093 and the vessels (thereof) plain, and the incense from them scant, and 
the god himself nowhere. Men therefore were not religious before they achieved greatness, 
(nor great) because they were religious. But how can the Romans possibly seem to have ac- 
quired their empire by an excessive religiousness and very profound respect for the gods, 
when that empire was rather increased after the gods had been slighted ? 1094 Now, if I am 
not mistaken, every kingdom or empire is acquired and enlarged by wars, whilst they and 
their gods also are injured by conquerors. For the same ruin affects both city-walls and 
temples; similar is the carnage both of civilians and of priests; identical the plunder of profane 
things and of sacred. To the Romans belong as many sacrileges as trophies; and then as 
many triumphs over gods as over nations. Still remaining are their captive idols amongst 
them; and certainly, if they can only see their conquerors, they do not give them their love. 
Since, however, they have no perception, they are injured with impunity; and since they are 


1085 

Operati plerique. 

1086 

Dediticius. 

1087 

Apollo; comp. The Apology, c. xiv., p. 30. 

1088 

See Herodot. i. 50. 

1089 

Veluti tueri. 

1090 

Religiositas. 

1091 

Superstitio. 

1092 

Frugi. 

1093 

Temeraria. 

1094 

Laesis. 


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Conclusion, the Romans Owe Not Their Imperial Power to Their Gods. The Great... 


injured with impunity, they are worshipped to no purpose. The nation, therefore, which 
has grown to its powerful height by victory after victory, cannot seem to have developed 
owing to the merits of its religion — whether they have injured the religion by augmenting 
their power, or augmented their power by injuring the religion. All nations have possessed 
empire, each in its proper time, as the Assyrians, the Medes, the Persians, the Egyptians; 
empire is even now also in the possession of some, and yet they that have lost their power 
used not to behave 1095 without attention to religious services and the worship of the gods, 
even after these had become unpropitious to them , 1096 until at last almost universal 
dominion has accrued to the Romans. It is the fortune of the times that has thus constantly 
shaken kingdoms with revolution . 1097 Inquire who has ordained these changes in the times. 
It is the same (great Being) who dispenses kingdoms , 1098 and has now put the supremacy 
of them into the hands of the Romans, very much as if 1099 the tribute of many nations were 
after its exaction amassed in one (vast) coffer. What He has determined concerning it, they 
know who are the nearest to Him . 1100 


1095 Morabantur. We have taken this word as if from “mores” (character). Tertullian often uses the participle 
“moratus” in this sense. 

1096 Et depropitiorum. 

1097 Volutavit. 

1098 Compare The Apology, c. xxvi. 

1099 We have treated this “tanquam” and its clause as something more than a mere simile. It is, in fact, an 
integral element of the supremacy which the entire sentence describes as conferred on the Romans by the 
Almighty. 

1100 That is, the Christians, who are well aware of God’s purposes as declared in prophecy. St. Paul tells the 
Thessalonians what the order of the great events subsequent to the Roman power was to be: the destruction of 
that power was to be followed by the development and reign of Antichrist; and then the end of the world would 


come. 


311 



Appendix: A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the Heathen. 


Appendix. 

A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the 

Heathen. 


So great blindness has fallen on the Roman race, that they call their enemy Lord, and 
preach the filcher of blessings as being their very giver, and to him they give thanks. They 
call those (deities), then, by human names, not by their own, for their own names they know 
not. That they are daemons 1101 they understand: but they read histories of the old kings, 
and then, though they see that their character 1102 was mortal, they honour them with a 
deific name. 

As for him whom they call Jupiter, and think to be the highest god, when he was born 
the years (that had elapsed) from the foundation of the world 1103 to him 1104 were some 
three thousand. He is born in Greece, from Saturnus and Ops; and, for fear he should be 
killed by his father (or else, if it is lawful to say so, should be begotten 1105 anew), is by the 
advice of his mother carried down into Crete, and reared in a cave of Ida; is concealed from 
his father’s search) by (the aid of) Cretans — born men! 1106 — rattling their arms; sucks a 
she-goat’s dugs; flays her; clothes himself in her hide; and (thus) uses his own nurse’s hide, 
after killing her, to be sure, with his own hand! but he sewed thereon three golden tassels 
worth the price of an hundred oxen each, as their author Homer 1107 relates, if it is fair to 
believe it. This Jupiter, in adult age, waged war several years with his father; overcame him; 


1101 Daemons. Gr. Souptov, which some hold to = Saratov, “knowing,” “skilful,” in which case it would come 
to be used of any superhuman intelligence; others, again, derive from 5atu), “to divide, distribute,” in which case 
it would mean a distributor of destinies; which latter derivation and meaning Liddell and Scott incline to. 

1102 Actum: or “career.” 

1103 Mundi. 

1104 i.e., till his time. 

1105 Pareretur. As the word seems to be used here with reference to his father, this, although not by any 
means a usual meaning, would seem to be the sense. [As in the equivalent Greek.] 

1106 A Cretibus, hominibus natis. The force seems to be in the absurdity of supposing that, 1st, there should 
be human beings (hominibus) bom, (as Jupiter is said to have been “born,”) already existing at the time of the 
“birth” of “the highest god;” 2 ndly, that these should have had the power to do him so essential service as to 
conceal him from the search of his own father, likewise a mighty deity, by the simple expedient of rattling their 
arms. 

1107 See Horn. II. ii. 446-9; but Homer says there were 100 such tassels. 


312 



Appendix: A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the Heathen. 


made a parricidal raid on his home; violated his virgin sisters ; 1108 selected one of them in 
marriage; drave 1109 his father by dint of arms. The remaining scenes, moreover, of that act 
have been recorded. Of other folks’ wives, or else of violated virgins, he begat him sons; defiled 
freeborn boys; oppressed peoples lawlessly with despotic and kingly sway. The father, whom 
they erringly suppose to have been the original god, was ignorant that this (son of his) was 
lying concealed in Crete; the son, again, whom they believe the mightier god, knows not 
that the father whom himself had banished is lurking in Italy. If he was in heaven, when 
would he not see what was doing in Italy? For the Italian land is “not in a corner .” 1110 And 
yet, had he been a god, nothing ought to have escaped him. But that he whom the Italians 
call Saturnus did lurk there, is clearly evidenced on the face of it, from the fact that from his 
lurking 1111 the Hesperian 1112 tongue is to this day called Latin , 1113 as likewise their author 
Virgil relates . 1114 (Jupiter,) then, is said to have been born on earth, while (Saturnus his 
father) fears lest he be driven by him from his kingdom, and seeks to kill him as being his 
own rival, and knows not that he has been stealthily carried off, and is in hiding; and after- 
wards the son-god pursues his father, immortal seeks to slay immortal (is it credible? 1115 ), 
and is disappointed by an interval of sea, and is ignorant of (his quarry’s) flight; and while 
all this is going on between two gods on earth, heaven is deserted. No one dispensed the 
rains, no one thundered, no one governed all this mass of world . 1 1 16 For they cannot even 
say that their action and wars took place in heaven; for all this was going on on Mount 
Olympus in Greece. Well, but heaven is not called Olympus, for heaven is heaven. 

These, then, are the actions of theirs, which we will treat of first — nativity, lurking, ig- 
norance, parricide, adulteries, obscenities — things committed not by a god, but by most 
impure and truculent human beings; beings who, had they been living in these days, would 
have lain under the impeachment of all laws — laws which are far more just and strict than 
their actions. “He drave his father by dint of arms.” The Falcidian and Sempronian law 
would bind the parricide in a sack with beasts. “He violated his sisters.” The Papinian law 


1108 Oehler’s “virginis” must mean “virgines.” 

1109 So Scott: “He drave my cows last Fastern’s night .” — Lay of Last Minstrel. 

1110 See Acts xxvi. 26. 

1 1 1 1 Latitatio. 

1112 i.e., Western: here=Italian, as being west of Greece. 

1113 Latina. 

1114 See Virg. JEn. viii. 319-323: see also Ov. Fast. i. 234-238. 

1115 Oehler does not mark this as a question. If we follow him, we may render, “this can find belief.” Above, 
it seemed necessary to introduce the parenthetical words to make some sense. The Latin is throughout very 
clumsy and incoherent. 

1116 Orbis. 


313 


Appendix: A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the Heathen. 


would punish the outrage with all penalties, limb by limb. “He invaded others’ wedlock.” 
The Julian law would visit its adulterous violator capitally. “He defiled freeborn boys.” The 
Cornelian law would condemn the crime of transgressing the sexual bond with novel 
severities, sacrilegiously guilty as it is of a novel union. This being is shown to have had 

no divinity either, for he was a human being; his father’s flight escaped him. To this human 
being, of such a character, to so wicked a king, so obscene and so cruel, God’s honour has 
been assigned by men. Now, to be sure, if on earth he were born and grew up through the 
advancing stages of life’s periods, and in it committed all these evils, and yet is no more in 
it, what is thought (of him) but that he is dead? Or else does foolish error think wings 
were born him in his old age, whence to fly heavenward? Why, even this may possibly find 
credit among men bereft of sense , 1119 if indeed they believe, (as they do,) that he turned 
into a swan, to beget the Castors ; 1120 an eagle, to contaminate Ganymede; a bull, to violate 
Europa; gold, to violate Danae; a horse, to beget Pirithoiis; a goat, to beget Egyppa from 
a she-goat; a Satyr, to embrace Antiope. Beholding these adulteries, to which sinners are 
prone, they therefore easily believe that sanctions of misdeed and of every filthiness are 
borrowed from their feigned god. Do they perceive how void of amendment are the rest of 
his career’s acts which can find credit, which are indeed true, and which, they say, he did 
without self transformation? Of Semele, he begets Liber; of Latona, Apollo and Diana; 
of Maia, Mercury; of Alcmena, Hercules. But the rest of his corruptions, which they them- 
selves confess, I am unwilling to record, lest turpitude, once buried, be again called to men’s 
ears. But of these few (offsprings of his) I have made mention; off-springs whom in their 
error they believe to be themselves, too, gods — born, to wit, of an incestuous father; adulter- 
ous births, supposititious births. And the living, eternal God, of sempiternal divinity, 


1117 Lex Cornelia transgressi foederis ammissum novis exemplis novi coitus sacrilegum damnaret. After 
consulting Dr. Holmes, I have rendered, but not without hesitation, as above. “Foedus” seems to have been 
technically used, especially in later Latin, of the marriage compact; but what “lex Cornelia” is meant I have sought 
vainly to discover, and whether “lex Cornelia transgressi foederis” ought not to go together I am not sure. For 
“a/nmissum” (=admissum) Migne’s ed. reads “amissum,” a very different word. For “sacrilegus” with a genitive, 
see de Res. Cam, c. xlii. med. 

1118 Quid putatur (Oehler) putatus (Migne). 

1119 Or, “feeling” — “sensu.” 

1120 The Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux. 

1121 Perhaps TEgipana (marginal reading of the ms. as given in Oehler and Migne). 

1122 i.e., Bacchus. 

1123 Oehler reads “vide etem;” but Migne’s “viventem” seems better: indeed, Oehler’s is probably a misprint. 
The punctuation of this treatise in Oehler is very faulty throughout, and has been disregarded. 


314 



Appendix: A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the Heathen. 


prescient of futurity, immeasurable , 1124 they have dissipated (into nothing, by associating 
Him) with crimes so unspeakable. 


1124 “Immensum,” rendered “incomprehensible” in the “Athanasian Creed. 


315 



Elucidation. 


Elucidation. 


This Fragment is noted as spurious, by Oehler who attributes it to somebody only 

line 

moderately acquainted with Tertulban’s style and teaching. I do not find it mentioned 
by Dupin, nor by Routh. This translation is by Thelwall. 


1 125 See page 14, supra. 


316 



An Answer to the Jews. 


VII. 

An Answer to the Jews . 1126 

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.] 


Chapter I. — Occasion of Writing. Relative Position of Jews and Gentiles Illustrated. 

It happened very recently a dispute was held between a Christian and a Jewish proselyte. 
Alternately with contentious cable they each spun out the day until evening. By the opposing 
din, moreover, of some partisans of the individuals, truth began to be overcast by a sort of 
cloud. It was therefore our pleasure that that which, owing to the confused noise of disputa- 
tion, could be less fully elucidated point by point, should be more carefully looked into, and 
that the pen should determine, for reading purposes, the questions handled. 

For the occasion, indeed, of claiming Divine grace even for the Gentiles derived a pre- 
eminent fitness from this fact, that the man who set up to vindicate God’s Law as his own 
was of the Gentiles, and not a Jew “of the stock of the Israelites.” For this fact — that 
Gentiles are admissible to God’s Law — is enough to prevent Israel from priding himself on 
the notion that “the Gentiles are accounted as a little drop of a bucket,” or else as “dust out 
of a threshing-floor:” although we have God Himself as an adequate engager and faithful 
promiser, in that He promised to Abraham that “in his seed should be blest all nations of 
the earth ;” 1129 and that 1 130 out of the womb of Rebecca “two peoples and two nations were 


1126 [This treatise was written while our author was a Catholic. This seems to me the best supported of the 
theories concerning it. Let us accept Pamelius, for once and date it a.d. 198. Dr. Allix following Baronius, will 
have it as late as a.d. 208. Neander thinks the work, after the quotation from Isaiah in the beginning of chapter 
ninth, is not our author’s, but was finished by another hand, clumsily annexing what is said on the same chapter 
of Isaiah in the Third Book against Marcion. It is only slightly varied. Bp. Kaye admits the very striking facts 
instanced by Neander, in support of this theory, but demolishes, with a word any argument drawn from thence 
that the genuine work was written after the author’s lapse. This treatise is sufficiently annotated by Thelwall, 
and covers ground elsewhere gone over in this Series. My own notes are therefore very few.] 

1 127 Comp. Phil. iii. 5. 

1128 See Isa. xl. 15: “dust of the balance,” Eng. Ver.; pOTtq fytyov LXX. For the expression “dust out of a 
threshing-floor,” however, see Ps. i. 4, Dan. ii. 35. 

1 129 See Gen. xxii. 18; and comp. Gal. iii. 16, and the reference in both places. 

1130 This promise may be said to have been given “to Abraham,” because (of course) he was still living at the 
time; as we see by comparing Gen. xxi. 5 with xxv. 7 and 26. See, too, Heb. xi. 9. 


317 


Occasion of Writing. Relative Position of Jews and Gentiles Illustrated 


i i o 1 

about to proceed,” — of course those of the Jews, that is, of Israel; and of the Gentiles, 
that is ours. Each, then, was called a people and a nation; lest, from the nuncupative appella- 
tion, any should dare to claim for himself the privilege of grace. For God ordained “two 
peoples and two nations” as about to proceed out of the womb of one woman: nor did 

i i on 

grace make distinction in the nuncupative appellation, but in the order of birth; to the 
effect that, which ever was to be prior in proceeding from the womb, should be subjected 
to “the less,” that is, the posterior. For thus unto Rebecca did God speak: “Two nations are 
in thy womb, and two peoples shall be divided from thy bowels; and people shall overcome 
people, and the greater shall serve the less.” Accordingly, since the people or nation of 
the Jews is anterior in time, and “greater” through the grace of primary favour in the Faw, 
whereas ours is understood to be “less” in the age of times, as having in the last era of the 
world 1134 attained the knowledge of divine mercy: beyond doubt, through the edict of the 
divine utterance, the prior and “greater” people — that is, the Jewish — must necessarily serve 
the “less;” and the “less” people — that is, the Christian — overcome the “greater.” For, withal, 
according to the memorial records of the divine Scriptures, the people of the Jews — that is, 
the more ancient — quite forsook God, and did degrading service to idols, and, abandoning 
the Divinity, was surrendered to images; while “the people” said to Aaron, “Make us gods 
to go before us.” And when the gold out of the necklaces of the women and the rings of 

the men had been wholly smelted by fire, and there had come forth a calf-like head, to this 
figment Israel with one consent (abandoning God) gave honour, saying, “These are the gods 
who brought us from the land of Egypt.” For thus, in the later times in which kings were 
governing them, did they again, in conjunction with Jeroboam, worship golden kine, and 
groves, and enslave themselves to Baal. Whence is proved that they have ever been de- 
picted, out of the volume of the divine Scriptures, as guilty of the crime of idolatry; whereas 
our “less” — that is, posterior — people, quitting the idols which formerly it used slavishly to 
serve, has been converted to the same God from whom Israel, as we have above related, had 
departed. For thus has the less — that is, posterior — people overcome the greater 
people,” while it attains the grace of divine favour, from which Israel has been divorced. 


1131 Or, “nor did He make, by grace, a distinction.” 

1132 Or, “nor did He make, by grace, a distinction.” 

1133 See Gen. xxv. 21-23, especially in the LXX.; and comp. Rom. ix. 10-13. 

1134 Saeculi. 

1135 Ex. xxxii. 1, 23; Acts vii. 39, 40. 

1136 Ex. xxxii. 4: comp. Acts vii. 38-41; 1 Cor. x. 7; Ps. cvi. 19-22. 

1 137 Comp. 1 Kings xii. 25-33; 2 Kings xvii. 7-17 (in LXX. 3 and 4 Kings). The Eng. ver. speaks of “calves;” 
the LXX. call them “heifers.” 

1138 Comp. 1 Thess. i. 9, 10. 


318 


The Law Anterior to Moses. 


Chapter II. — The Law Anterior to Moses. 

Stand we, therefore, foot to foot, and determine we the sum and substance of the actual 
question within definite lists. 

For why should God, the founder of the universe, the Governor of the whole world , 1 139 
the Fashioner of humanity, the Sower 1140 of universal nations be believed to have given a 
law through Moses to one people, and not be said to have assigned it to all nations? For 
unless He had given it to all by no means would He have habitually permitted even proselytes 
out of the nations to have access to it. But — as is congruous with the goodness of God, and 
with His equity, as the Fashioner of mankind — He gave to all nations the selfsame law, which 
at definite and stated times He enjoined should be observed, when He willed, and through 
whom He willed, and as He willed. For in the beginning of the world He gave to Adam 
himself and Eve a law, that they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree planted in the midst 
of paradise; but that, if they did contrariwise, by death they were to die . 1141 Which law had 
continued enough for them, had it been kept. For in this law given to Adam we recognise 
in embryo 1 142 all the precepts which afterwards sprouted forth when given through Moses; 
that is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God from thy whole heart and out of thy whole soul; 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ; 1143 Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not commit 
adultery; Thou shalt not steal; False witness thou shalt not utter; Honour thy father and 
mother; and, That which is another’s, shalt thou not covet. For the primordial law was 
given to Adam and Eve in paradise, as the womb of all the precepts of God. In short, if they 
had loved the Lord their God, they would not have contravened His precept; if they had 
habitually loved their neighbour — that is, themselves 1144 — they would not have believed 
the persuasion of the serpent, and thus would not have committed murder upon them- 
selves , 1145 by falling 1146 from immortality, by contravening God’s precept; from theft also 
they would have abstained, if they had not stealthily tasted of the fruit of the tree, nor had 
been anxious to skulk beneath a tree to escape the view of the Lord their God; nor would 
they have been made partners with the falsehood-asseverating devil, by believing him that 
they would be “like God;” and thus they would not have offended God either, as their 


1139 Mundi. 

1 140 Comp. Jer. xxxi. 27 (in LXX. it is xxxviii. 27); Hos. ii. 23; Zech. x. 9; Matt. xiii. 31-43. 

1141 See Gen. ii. 16, 17; ill. 2, 3. 

1142 Condita. 

1 143 Deut. vi. 4, 5; Lev. xix. 18; comp. Matt. xxii. 34-40; Mark xii. 28-34; Luke x. 25-28; and for the rest, Ex. 
xx. 12-17; Deut. v. 16-21; Rom. xiii. 9. 

1144 Semetipsos. ? Each other. 

1145 Semetipsos. ? Each other. 

1146 Excidendo; or, perhaps, “by self-excision,” or “mutual excision.” 


319 


The Law Anterior to Moses. 


Father, who had fashioned them from clay of the earth, as out of the womb of a mother; if 
they had not coveted another’s, they would not have tasted of the unlawful fruit. 

Therefore, in this general and primordial law of God, the observance of which, in the 
case of the tree’s fruit, He had sanctioned, we recognise enclosed all the precepts specially 
of the posterior Law, which germinated when disclosed at their proper times. For the sub- 
sequent superinduction of a law is the work of the same Being who had before premised a 
precept; since it is His province withal subsequently to train, who had before resolved to 
form, righteous creatures. For what wonder if He extends a discipline who institutes it? if 
He advances who begins? In short, before the Law of Moses , 1147 written in stone-tables, I 
contend that there was a law unwritten, which was habitually understood naturally, and by 
the fathers was habitually kept. For whence was Noah “found righteous ,” 1148 if in his case 
the righteousness of a natural law had not preceded? Whence was Abraham accounted “a 
friend of God ,” 1149 if not on the ground of equity and righteousness, (in the observance) 
of a natural law? Whence was Melchizedek named “priest of the most high God ,” 1150 if, 
before the priesthood of the Levitical law, there were not levites who were wont to offer 
sacrifices to God? For thus, after the above-mentioned patriarchs, was the Law given to 
Moses, at that (well-known) time after their exode from Egypt, after the interval and spaces 
of four hundred years. In fact, it was after Abraham’s “four hundred and thirty years ” 1151 
that the Law was given. Whence we understand that God’s law was anterior even to Moses, 
and was not first (given) in Horeb, nor in Sinai and in the desert, but was more ancient; 
(existing) first in paradise, subsequently reformed for the patriarchs, and so again for the 
Jews, at definite periods: so that we are not to give heed to Moses’ Law as to the primitive 
law, but as to a subsequent, which at a definite period God has set forth to the Gentiles too 
and, after repeatedly promising so to do through the prophets, has reformed for the better; 
and has premonished that it should come to pass that, just as “the law was given through 
Moses” at a definite time, so it should be believed to have been temporarily observed 
and kept. And let us not annul this power which God has, which reforms the law’s precepts 
answerably to the circumstances of the times, with a view to man’s salvation. In fine, let him 
who contends that the Sabbath is still to be observed as a balm of salvation, and circumcision 
on the eighth day because of the threat of death, teach us that, for the time past, righteous 
men kept the Sabbath, or practised circumcision, and were thus rendered “friends of God.” 


1147 Or, “the Law written for Moses in stone-tables.” 

1148 Gen. vi. 9; vii. 1; comp. Heb. xi. 7. 

1149 See Isa. xli. 8; Jas. ii. 23. 

1150 Gen. xiv. 18, Ps. cx. (cix. in. LXX.) 4; Heb. v. 10, vii. 1-3, 10, 15, 17. 

1151 Comp. Gen. xv. 13 with Ex. xii. 40-42 and Acts vii. 6. 

1152 John i. 17. 


320 


The Law Anterior to Moses. 


For if circumcision purges a man since God made Adam uncircumcised, why did He not 
circumcise him, even after his sinning, if circumcision purges? At all events, in settling him 
in paradise, He appointed one uncircumcised as colonist of paradise. Therefore, since God 
originated Adam uncircumcised, and inobservant of the Sabbath, consequently his offspring 
also, Abel, offering Him sacrifices, uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was by 
Him commended; while He accepted what he was offering in simplicity of heart, and 
reprobated the sacrifice of his brother Cain, who was not rightly dividing what he was offer- 
ing . 1154 Noah also, uncircumcised — yes, and inobservant of the Sabbath — God freed from 
the deluge . 115 5 For Enoch, too, most righteous man, uncircumcised and inobservant of the 
Sabbath, He translated from this world ; 1156 who did not first taste 1157 death, in order that, 
being a candidate for eternal life, he might by this time show us that we also may, without 

the burden of the law of Moses, please God. Melchizedek also, “the priest of the most high 
God,” uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was chosen to the priesthood of 
God . 1159 Lot, withal, the brother 1160 of Abraham, proves that it was for the merits of 
righteousness, without observance of the law, that he was freed from the conflagration of 
the Sodomites . 1161 


1153 Or, “credited him with.” 

1154 Gen. iv. 1-7, especially in the LXX.; comp. Heb. xi. 4. 

1155 Gen. vi. 18; vii. 23; 2 Pet. ii. 5. 

1156 See Gen. v. 22, 24; Heb. xi. 5. 

1157 Or, perhaps, “has not yet tasted.” 

1158 TEternitatis candidatus. Comp, ad Ux. 1. i. c. vii., and note 3 there. 

1159 See above. 

1 160 i.e., nephew. See Gen. xi. 31; xii. 5. 

1 161 See Gen. xix. 1-29; and comp. 2 Pet. ii. 6-9. 


321 


Of Circumcision and the Supercession of the Old Law. 


Chapter III. — Of Circumcision and the Supercession of the Old Law. 

But Abraham, (you say,) was circumcised. Yes, but he pleased God before his circum- 
cision; nor yet did he observe the Sabbath. For he had “accepted” circumcision; but 
such as was to be for “a sign” of that time, not for a prerogative title to salvation. In fact, 
subsequent patriarchs were uncircumcised, like Melchizedek, who, uncircumcised, offered 
to Abraham himself, already circumcised, on his return from battle, bread and wine . 1164 
“But again,” (you say) “the son of Moses would upon one occasion have been choked by an 
angel, if Zipporah , 1 1 65 had not circumcised the foreskin of the infant with a pebble; whence, 
“there is the greatest peril if any fail to circumcise the foreskin of his flesh.” Nay, but if cir- 
cumcision altogether brought salvation, even Moses himself, in the case of his own son, 
would not have omitted to circumcise him on the eighth day; whereas it is agreed that Zip- 
porah did it on the journey, at the compulsion of the angel. Consider we, accordingly, that 
one single infant’s compulsory circumcision cannot have prescribed to every people, and 
founded, as it were, a law for keeping this precept. For God, foreseeing that He was about 
to give this circumcision to the people of Israel for “a sign,” not for salvation, urges the cir- 
cumcision of the son of Moses, their future leader, for this reason; that, since He had begun, 
through him, to give the People the precept of circumcision, the people should not despise 
it, from seeing this example (of neglect) already exhibited conspicuously in their leader’s 
son. For circumcision had to be given; but as “a sign,” whence Israel in the last time would 
have to be distinguished, when, in accordance with their deserts, they should be prohibited 
from entering the holy city, as we see through the words of the prophets, saying, “Your land 
is desert; your cities utterly burnt with fire; your country, in your sight, strangers shall eat 
up; and, deserted and subverted by strange peoples, the daughter of Zion shall be derelict, 
like a shed in a vineyard, and like a watchhouse in a cucumber-field, and as it were a city 
which is being stormed .” 1166 Why so? Because the subsequent discourse of the prophet 
reproaches them, saying, “Sons have I begotten and upraised, but they have reprobated 
me;” and again, “And if ye shall have outstretched hands, I will avert my face from you; 
and if ye shall have multiplied prayers, I will not hear you: for your hands are full of 


1162 See Gen. xii.-xv. compared with xvii. and Rom. iv. 

1163 Acceperat. So Tertullian renders, as it appears to me, the eA.a(3e of St. Paul in Rom. iv. 11. q. v. 

1164 There is, if the text be genuine, some confusion here. Melchizedek does not appear to have been, in any 
sense, “subsequent” to Abraham, for he probably was senior to him; and, moreover, Abraham does not appear 
to have been “already circumcised” carnally when Melchizedek met him. Comp. Gen. xiv. with Gen. xvii. 

1165 Tertullian writes Seffora; the LXX. in loco, Eerapwpa Ex. iv. 24-26, where the Eng. ver. says, “the Lord 
met him,” etc.; the LXX ayyeXoc, Kuplou. 

1166 Isa. i. 7, 8. See c. xiii. sub fin. 

1167 Again an error; for these words precede the others. These are found in Isa. i. 2. 


322 


Of Circumcision and the Supercession of the Old Law. 


blood;” and again, “Woe! sinful nation; a people full of sins; wicked sons; ye have quite 
forsaken God, and have provoked unto indignation the Holy One of Israel .” 1169 This, 
therefore, was God’s foresight, — that of giving circumcision to Israel, for a sign whence they 
might be distinguished when the time should arrive wherein their above-mentioned deserts 
should prohibit their admission into Jerusalem: which circumstance, because it was to be, 
used to be announced; and, because we see it accomplished, is recognised by us. For, as the 
carnal circumcision, which was temporary, was in wrought for “a sign” in a contumacious 
people, so the spiritual has been given for salvation to an obedient people; while the 
prophet Jeremiah says, “Make a renewal for you, and sow not in thorns; be circumcised to 
God, and circumcise the foreskin of your heart :” 1170 and in another place he says, “Behold, 
days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will draw up, for the house of Judah and for the house 
of Jacob, a new testament; not such as I once gave their fathers in the day wherein I led 
them out from the land of Egypt.” Whence we understand that the coming cessation of 
the former circumcision then given, and the coming procession of a new law (not such as 
He had already given to the fathers), are announced: just as Isaiah foretold, saying that in 
the last days the mount of the Lord and the house of God were to be manifest above the 
tops of the mounts: “And it shall be exalted,” he says, “above the hills; and there shall come 
over it all nations; and many shall walk, and say, Come, ascend we unto the mount of the 
Lord, and unto the house of the God of Jacob,” — not of Esau, the former son, but of 

Jacob, the second; that is, of our “people,” whose “mount” is Christ, “praecised without 
concisors’ hands , 1174 filling every land,” shown in the book of Daniel . 1175 In short, the 
coming procession of a new law out of this “house of the God of Jacob” Isaiah in the ensuing 
words announces, saying, “For from Zion shall go out a law, and the word of the Lord out 
of Jerusalem, and shall judge among the nations,” — that is, among us, who have been called 
out of the nations, — “and they shall join to beat their glaives into ploughs, and their lances 
into sickles; and nations shall not take up glaive against nation, and they shall no more learn 
to fight.” Who else, therefore, are understood but we, who, fully taught by the new law, 
observe these practices, — the old law being obliterated, the coming of whose abolition the 


1168 Isa. i. 15. 

1169 Isa. i. 4. 

1170 Jer. iv. 3, 4. In Eng. ver., “break up your fallow ground;” but comp, de Pu. c. vi. ad init. 

1171 So Tertullian. In Jer. ibid. “Israel and. . .Judah.” 

1172 Jer. xxxi. 31, 32 (in LXX. ibid, xxxviii. 31, 32); comp. Heb. viii. 8-13. 

1173 Isa. ii. 2, 3. 

1174 Perhaps an allusion to Phil. iii. 1, 2. 

1175 See Dan. ii. 34, 35, 44, 45. See c. xiv. below. 

1176 Isa. ii. 3,4. 


323 


Of Circumcision and the Supercession of the Old Law. 


1 1 11 

action itself demonstrates? For the wont of the old law was to avenge itself by the ven- 
geance of the glaive, and to pluck out “eye for eye,” and to inflict retaliatory revenge for in- 
jury. But the new law s wont was to point to clemency, and to convert to tranquillity 
the pristine ferocity of “glaives” and “lances,” and to remodel the pristine execution of “war” 
upon the rivals and foes of the law into the pacific actions of “ploughing” and “tilling” the 
land . 1179 Therefore as we have shown above that the coming cessation of the old law and 
of the carnal circumcision was declared, so, too, the observance of the new law and the 
spiritual circumcision has shone out into the voluntary obediences 1180 of peace. For “a 
people,” he says, “whom I knew not hath served me; in obedience of the ear it hath obeyed 
me.” Prophets made the announcement. But what is the “people” which was ignorant 
of God, but ours, who in days bygone knew not God? and who, in the hearing of the ear, 
gave heed to Him, but we, who, forsaking idols, have been converted to God? For Israel — who 
had been known to God, and who had by Him been “upraised” in Egypt, and was 
transported through the Red Sea, and who in the desert, fed forty years with manna, was 
wrought to the semblance of eternity, and not contaminated with human passions, or 
fed on this world’s 1184 meats, but fed on “angel’s loaves” 1185 — the manna — and sufficiently 
bound to God by His benefits — forgot his Lord and God, saying to Aaron: “Make us gods, 
to go before us: for that Moses, who ejected us from the land of Egypt, hath quite forsaken 
us; and what hath befallen him we know not.” And accordingly we, who “were not the people 
of God” in days bygone, have been made His people, by accepting the new law above 
mentioned, and the new circumcision before foretold. 


1177 i.e., of beating swords into ploughs, etc. 

1178 Comp. Ex. xxi. 24, 25; Lev. xxiv. 17-22; Deut. xix. 11-21; Matt. v. 38. 

1179 Especially spiritually. Comp. 1 Cor. iii. 6-9; ix. 9, 10, and similar passages. 

1180 Obsequia. See de Pa. c. iv. note 1. 

1181 See Ps. xviii. 43, 44 (xvii. 44, 45 in LXX.), where the Eng. ver. has the future; the LXX., like Tertullian, 
the past. Comp. 2 Sam. (in LXX. 2 Kings) xxii. 44, 45, and Rom. x. 14-17. 

1182 Comp. Isa. i. 2 as above, and Acts xiii. 17. 

1183 Saeculi. 

1184 Or, perhaps, “not affected, as a body, with human sufferings;” in allusion to such passages as Deut. viii. 
4; xxix. 5; Neh. ix. 21. 

1185 Ps. lxxviii. (lxxvii. in LXX.) 25; comp. John vi. 31, 32. 

1186 See Hos. i. 10; 1 Pet. ii. 10. 


324 


Of the Obser\’cince of the Sabbath. 


Chapter IV. — Of the Observance of the Sabbath. 

It follows, accordingly, that, in so far as the abolition of carnal circumcision and of the 
old law is demonstrated as having been consummated at its specific times, so also the ob- 
servance of the Sabbath is demonstrated to have been temporary. 

For the lews say, that from the beginning God sanctified the seventh day, by resting on 
it from all His works which He made; and that thence it was, likewise, that Moses said to 
the People: “Remember the day of the sabbaths, to sanctify it: every servile work ye shall 
not do therein, except what pertaineth unto life.” Whence we (Christians) understand 
that we still more ought to observe a sabbath from all “servile work” always, and not 
only every seventh day, but through all time. And through this arises the question for us, 
what sabbath God willed us to keep? For the Scriptures point to a sabbath eternal and a 
sabbath temporal. For Isaiah the prophet says, “Your sabbaths my soul hateth ;” 1189 and in 
another place he says, “My sabbaths ye have profaned .” 1190 Whence we discern that the 
temporal sabbath is human, and the eternal sabbath is accounted divine; concerning which 
He predicts through Isaiah: “And there shall be,” He says, “month after month, and day 
after day, and sabbath after sabbath; and all flesh shall come to adore in Jerusalem, saith the 
Lord ;” 1191 which we understand to have been fulfilled in the times of Christ, when “all 
flesh” — that is, every nation — “came to adore in Jerusalem” God the Father, through Jesus 
Christ His Son, as was predicted through the prophet: “Behold, proselytes through me shall 
go unto Thee .” 1192 Thus, therefore, before this temporal sabbath, there was withal an 
eternal sabbath foreshown and foretold; just as before the carnal circumcision there was 
withal a spiritual circumcision foreshown. In short, let them teach us, as we have already 
premised, that Adam observed the sabbath; or that Abel, when offering to God a holy victim, 
pleased Him by a religious reverence for the sabbath; or that Enoch, when translated, had 
been a keeper of the sabbath; or that Noah the ark-builder observed, on account of the deluge, 
an immense sabbath; or that Abraham, in observance of the sabbath, offered Isaac his son; 
or that Melchizedek in his priesthood received the law of the sabbath. 

But the Jews are sure to say, that ever since this precept was given through Moses, the 
observance has been binding. Manifest accordingly it is, that the precept was not eternal 


1187 Comp. Gal. v. 1; iv. 8, 9. 

1188 See Ex. xx. 8-11 and xii. 16 (especially in the LXX.). 

1189 Isa. i. 13. 

1190 This is not said by Isaiah; it is found in substance in Ezek. xxii. 8. 

1191 Isa. lxvi. 23 in LXX. 

1192 I am not acquainted with any such passage. Oehler refers to Isa. xlix. in his margin, but gives no verse, 
and omits to notice this passage of the present treatise in his index. 


325 


Of the Obser\’cince of the Sabbath. 


nor spiritual, but temporary , 1193 which would one day cease. In short, so true is it that it is 
not in the exemption from work of the sabbath — that is, of the seventh day — that the celeb- 
ration of this solemnity is to consist, that Joshua the son of Nun, at the time that he was re- 
ducing the city Jericho by war, stated that he had received from God a precept to order the 
People that priests should carry the ark of the testament of God seven days, making the 
circuit of the city; and thus, when the seventh day’s circuit had been performed, the walls 
of the city would spontaneously fall . 1194 Which was so done; and when the space of the 
seventh day was finished, just as was predicted, down fell the walls of the city. Whence it is 
manifestly shown, that in the number of the seven days there intervened a sabbath-day. For 
seven days, whencesoever they may have commenced, must necessarily include within them 
a sabbath-day; on which day not only must the priests have worked, but the city must have 
been made a prey by the edge of the sword by all the people of Israel. Nor is it doubtful that 
they “wrought servile work,” when, in obedience to God’s precept, they drave the preys of 
war. For in the times of the Maccabees, too, they did bravely in fighting on the sabbaths, 
and routed their foreign foes, and recalled the law of their fathers to the primitive style of 
life by fighting on the sabbaths . 1195 Nor should I think it was any other law which they thus 
vindicated, than the one in which they remembered the existence of the prescript touching 
“the day of the sabbaths .” 1196 

Whence it is manifest that the force of such precepts was temporary, and respected the 
necessity of present circumstances; and that it was not with a view to its observance in per- 
petuity that God formerly gave them such a law. 


1193 Or, “temporal.” 

1194 Josh. vi. 1-20. 

1195 See 1 Macc. ii. 41, etc. 

See Ex. xx. 8; Deut. v. 12, 15: in LXX. 


1196 


326 


Of Sacrifices. 


Chapter V. — Of Sacrifices. 

So, again, we show that sacrifices of earthly oblations and of spiritual sacrifices 1 197 were 
predicted; and, moreover, that from the beginning the earthly were foreshown, in the person 
of Cain, to be those of the “elder son,” that is, of Israel; and the opposite sacrifices demon- 
strated to be those of the “younger son,” Abel, that is, of our people. For the elder, Cain, 
offered gifts to God from the fruit of the earth; but the younger son, Abel, from the fruit of 
his ewes. “God had respect unto Abel, and unto his gifts; but unto Cain and unto his gifts 
He had not respect. And God said unto Cain, Why is thy countenance fallen? hast thou 
not — if thou offerest indeed aright, but dost not divide aright — sinned? Hold thy peace. For 
unto thee shalt thy conversion be and he shall lord it over thee. And then Cain said unto 
Abel his brother, Let us go into the field: and he went away with him thither, and he slew 
him. And then God said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: 
am I my brother’s keeper? To whom God said, The voice of the blood of thy brother crieth 
forth unto me from the earth. Wherefore cursed is the earth, which hath opened her mouth 
to receive the blood of thy brother. Groaning and trembling shalt thou be upon the earth, 
and every one who shall have found thee shall slay thee .” 1198 From this proceeding we 
gather that the twofold sacrifices of “the peoples” were even from the very beginning fore- 
shown. In short, when the sacerdotal law was being drawn up, through Moses, in Leviticus, 
we find it prescribed to the people of Israel that sacrifices should in no other place be offered 
to God than in the land of promise; which the Lord God was about to give to “the people” 
Israel and to their brethren, in order that, on Israel’s introduction thither, there should there 
be celebrated sacrifices and holocausts, as well for sins as for souls; and nowhere else but in 
the holy land . 1199 Why, accordingly, does the Spirit afterwards predict, through the 
prophets, that it should come to pass that in every place and in every land there should be 
offered sacrifices to God? as He says through the angel Malachi, one of the twelve prophets: 
“I will not receive sacrifice from your hands; for from the rising sun unto the setting my 
Name hath been made famous among all the nations, saith the Lord Almighty: and in every 
place they offer clean sacrifices to my Name .” 1200 Again, in the Psalms, David says: “Bring 
to God, ye countries of the nations” — undoubtedly because “unto every land” the preaching 
of the apostles had to “go out” 1201 — “bring to God fame and honour; bring to God the sac- 


1197 This tautology is due to the author, not to the translator: “sacrificia. . . spiritalium sacrificiorum.” 

1198 See Gen. iv. 2-14. But it is to be observed that the version given in our author differs widely in some 
particulars from the Heb. and the LXX. 

1199 See Lev. xvii. 1-9; Deut. xii. 1-26. 

1 200 See Mai. i. 1 0, 1 1 , in LXX. 

1201 Comp. Matt, xxviii. 19, 20, Markxvi. 15, 16, Lukexxiv. 45-48, with Ps. xix. 4 (xviii. 5 in LXX.), as explained 
in Rom. x. 18. 


327 


Of Sacrifices. 


1 909 1 903 

rifices of His name: take up victims and enter into His courts.” ' For that it is not by 
earthly sacrifices, but by spiritual, that offering is to be made to God, we thus read, as it is 
written, An heart contribulate and humbled is a victim for God ;” 1204 and elsewhere, “Sacrifice 
to God a sacrifice of praise, and render to the Highest thy vows .” 1205 Thus, accordingly, the 
spiritual “sacrifices of praise” are pointed to, and “an heart contribulate” is demonstrated 
an acceptable sacrifice to God. And thus, as carnal sacrifices are understood to be reprob- 
ated — of which Isaiah withal speaks, saying, “To what end is the multitude of your sacrifices 
to me? saith the Lord” — so spiritual sacrifices are predicted as accepted, as the 

prophets announce. For, “even if ye shall have brought me,” He says, “the finest wheat flour, 
it is a vain supplicatory gift: a thing execrable to me;” and again He says, “Your holocausts 
and sacrifices, and the fat of goats, and blood of bulls, I will not, not even if ye come to be 
seen by me: for who hath required these things from your hands?” for “from the rising 
sun unto the setting, my Name hath been made famous among all the nations, saith the 
Lord .” 1209 But of the spiritual sacrifices He adds, saying, “And in every place they offer clean 
sacrifices to my Name, saith the Lord .” 1210 


1202 Tollite = Gr. Spare. Perhaps ="away with.” 

1203 See Ps. xcvi. (xcv. in LXX.) 7, 8; and comp. xxix. (xxviii. in LXX.) 1, 2. 

1204 See Ps. li. 17 (in LXX. 1. 19). 

1205 Ps. 1. (xlix. in LXX.) 14. 

1206 Isa. i. 11. 

1207 Or, “foretold.” 

1208 Comp. Isa. i. 11-14, especially in the LXX. 

1209 See Mai. i. as above. 

1210 See Mai. i. as above. 


328 


Of the Abolition and the Abolisher of the Old Law. 


Chapter VI. — Of the Abolition and the Abolisher of the Old Law. 

Therefore, since it is manifest that a sabbath temporal was shown, and a sabbath eternal 
foretold; a circumcision carnal foretold, and a circumcision spiritual pre-indicated; a law 
temporal and a law eternal formally declared; sacrifices carnal and sacrifices spiritual fore- 
shown; it follows that, after all these precepts had been given carnally, in time preceding, to 
the people Israel, there was to supervene a time whereat the precepts of the ancient Law and 
of the old ceremonies would cease, and the promise of the new law, and the recognition 

of spiritual sacrifices, and the promise of the New Testament, supervene; while the light 

from on high would beam upon us who were sitting in darkness, and were being detained 
in the shadow of death . 1213 And so there is incumbent on us a necessity 1214 binding us, 
since we have premised that a new law was predicted by the prophets, and that not such as 
had been already given to their fathers at the time when He led them forth from the land of 
Egypt, to show and prove, on the one hand, that that old Law has ceased, and on the 
other, that the promised new law is now in operation. 

And, indeed, first we must inquire whether there be expected a giver of the new law, 
and an heir of the new testament, and a priest of the new sacrifices, and a purger of the new 
circumcision, and an observer of the eternal sabbath, to suppress the old law, and institute 
the new testament, and offer the new sacrifices, and repress the ancient ceremonies, and 
suppress the old circumcision together with its own sabbath, and announce the new 

kingdom which is not corruptible. Inquire, I say, we must, whether this giver of the new 
law, observer of the spiritual sabbath, priest of the eternal sacrifices, eternal ruler of the 
eternal kingdom, be come or no: that, if he is already come, service may have to be rendered 
him; if he is not yet come, he may have to be awaited, until by his advent it be manifest that 
the old Law’s precepts are suppressed, and that the beginnings of the new law ought to arise. 
And, primarily, we must lay it down that the ancient Law and the prophets could not have 
ceased, unless He were come who was constantly announced, through the same Law and 
through the same prophets, as to come. 


1211 Or, “sending forth” — promissio. 

1212 The tautology is again due to the author. 

1213 Comp. Luke i. 78, 79, Isa. ix. 1, 2, with Matt. iv. 12-16. 

1214 Comp. 1 Cor. ix. 16. 

1215 See ch. iii. above. 

1216 Here again the repetition is the author’s. 

1217 Cum suo sibi sabbato. Unless the meaning be — which the context seems to forbid — “together with a 
sabbath of His own:” the Latinity is plainly incorrect. 


329 


The Question Whether Christ Be Come Taken Up. 


Chapter VII. — The Question Whether Christ Be Come Taken Up. 

Therefore upon this issue plant we foot to foot, whether the Christ who was constantly 
announced as to come be already come, or whether His coming be yet a subject of hope. 
For proof of which question itself, the times likewise must be examined by us when the 
prophets announced that the Christ would come; that, if we succeed in recognising that He 
has come within the limits of those times, we may without doubt believe Him to be the very 
one whose future coming was ever the theme of prophetic song, upon whom we — the nations, 
to wit — were ever announced as destined to believe; and that, when it shall have been agreed 
that He is come, we may undoubtedly likewise believe that the new law has by Him been 
given, and not disavow the new testament in Him and through Him drawn up for us. For 
that Christ was to come we know that even the Jews do not attempt to disprove, inasmuch 
as it is to His advent that they are directing their hope. Nor need we inquire at more length 
concerning that matter, since in days bygone all the prophets have prophesied of it; as Isaiah: 
“Thus saith the Lord God to my Christ (the) Lord, whose right hand I have holden, that 
the nations may hear Him: the powers of kings will I burst asunder; I will open before Him 
the gates, and the cities shall not be closed to Him.” Which very thing we see fulfilled. For 
whose right hand does God the Father hold but Christ’s, His Son? — whom all nations have 
heard, that is, whom all nations have believed, — whose preachers, withal, the apostles, are 
pointed to in the Psalms of David: “Into the universal earth,” says he, “is gone out their 
sound, and unto the ends of the earth their words .” 1219 For upon whom else have the uni- 
versal nations believed, but upon the Christ who is already come? For whom have the nations 
believed, — Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and they who inhabit Mesopotamia, Armenia, 
Phrygia, Cappadocia, and they who dwell in Pontus, and Asia, and Pamphylia, tarriers in 
Egypt, and inhabiters of the region of Africa which is beyond Cyrene, Romans and sojourners, 
yes, and in Jerusalem Jews, and all other nations; as, for instance, by this time, the varied 
races of the Gaetulians, and manifold confines of the Moors, all the limits of the Spains, and 
the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons — inaccessible to the Romans, 
but subjugated to Christ, and of the Sarmatians, and Dacians, and Germans, and Scythians, 
and of many remote nations, and of provinces and islands many, to us unknown, and which 
we can scarce enumerate? In all which places the name of the Christ who is already come 
reigns, as of Him before whom the gates of all cities have been opened, and to whom none 


1218 The reference is to Isa. xlv. 1 . A glance at the LXX. will at once explain the difference between the reading 
of our author and the genuine reading. One letter — an “i” — makes all the difference. For Kupw has been read 
Kupltp. In the Eng. ver. we read “His Anointed.” 

1219 Ps. xix. 4 (xviii. 5. in LXX.) and Rom. x. 18. 

1220 See Acts ii. 9, 10; but comp. ver. 5. 


330 


The Question Whether Christ Be Come Taken Up. 


i r \ , y i 

are closed, before whom iron bars have been crumbled, and brazen gates opened. Al- 
though there be withal a spiritual sense to be affixed to these expressions, — that the hearts 
of individuals, blockaded in various ways by the devil, are unbarred by the faith of 
Christ, — still they have been evidently fulfilled, inasmuch as in all these places dwells the 
“people” of the Name of Christ. For who could have reigned over all nations but Christ, 
God’s Son, who was ever announced as destined to reign over all to eternity? For if Solomon 
“reigned,” why, it was within the confines of Judea merely: “from Beersheba unto Dan” the 
boundaries of his kingdom are marked. If, moreover, Darius “reigned” over the Babylo- 

nians and Parthians, he had not power over all nations-, if Pharaoh, or whoever succeeded 
him in his hereditary kingdom, over the Egyptians, in that country merely did he possess 
his kingdom’s dominion; if Nebuchadnezzar with his petty kings, “from India unto Ethiopia” 
he had his kingdom’s boundaries; if Alexander the Macedonian he did not hold more 
than universal Asia, and other regions, after he had quite conquered them; if the Germans, 
to this day they are not suffered to cross their own limits; the Britons are shut within the 
circuit of their own ocean; the nations of the Moors, and the barbarism of the Gaetulians, 
are blockaded by the Romans, lest they exceed the confines of their own regions. What shall 
I say of the Romans themselves , 1224 who fortify their own empire with garrisons of their 
own legions, nor can extend the might of their kingdom beyond these nations? But Christ’s 
Name is extending everywhere, believed everywhere, worshipped by all the above-enumerated 
nations, reigning everywhere, adored everywhere, conferred equally everywhere upon all. 
No king, with Him, finds greater favour, no barbarian lesser joy; no dignities or pedigrees 
enjoy distinctions of merit; to all He is equal, to all King, to all Judge, to all “God and 
Lord.” Nor would you hesitate to believe what we asseverate, since you see it taking 
place. 


1221 See Isa. xlv. 1, 2 (especially in Lowth’s version and the LXX.). 

1222 See 1 Kings iv. 25. (In the LXX. it is 3 Kings iv. 25; but the verse is omitted in Tischendorf s text, ed. Lips. 
1 860, though given in his footnotes there.) The statement in the text differs slightly from Oehler’s reading; where 
I suspect there is a transposition of a syllable, and that for “in finibus Judce tantum, a Bersabece ,” we ought to 
read “in finibus Judcece tantum, a Bersabe.” See de Jej. c. ix. 

1223 See Esth. i. 1; viii. 9. 

1224 [Dr. Affix thinks these statements define the Empire after Severus, and hence accepts the date we have 
mentioned, for this treatise.] 

1225 Comp. John xx. 28. 


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Of the Times of Christ's Birth and Passion, and of Jerusalem's Des tract... 


Chapter VIII. — Of the Times of Christ’s Birth and Passion, and of Jerusalem’s De- 
struction. 

Accordingly the times must be inquired into of the predicted and future nativity of the 
Christ, and of His passion, and of the extermination of the city of Jerusalem, that is, its 
devastation. For Daniel says, that “both the holy city and the holy place are exterminated 
together with the coming Leader, and that the pinnacle is destroyed unto ruin.” And so 

the times of the coming Christ, the Leader, must be inquired into, which we shall trace 

in Daniel; and, after computing them, shall prove Him to be come, even on the ground of 
the times prescribed, and of competent signs and operations of His. Which matters we 
prove, again, on the ground of the consequences which were ever announced as to follow 
His advent; in order that we may believe all to have been as well fulfilled as foreseen. 

In such wise, therefore, did Daniel predict concerning Him, as to show both when and 
in what time He was to set the nations free; and how, after the passion of the Christ, that 
city had to be exterminated. For he says thus: “In the first year under Darius, son of Ahas- 
uerus, of the seed of the Medes, who reigned over the kingdom of the Chaldees, I Daniel 
understood in the books the number of the years. ...And while I was yet speaking in my 
prayer, behold, the man Gabriel, whom I saw in the vision in the beginning, flying; and he 
touched me, as it were, at the hour of the evening sacrifice, and made me understand, and 
spake with me, and said, Daniel I am now come out to imbue thee with understanding; in 
the beginning of thy supplication went out a word. And I am come to announce to thee, 
because thou art a man of desires; and ponder thou on the word, and understand in the 

vision. Seventy hebdomads have been abridged upon thy commonalty, and upon the 
holy city, until delinquency be made inveterate, and sins sealed, and righteousness obtained 
by entreaty, and righteousness eternal introduced; and in order that vision and prophet may 
be sealed, and an holy one of holy ones anointed. And thou shalt know, and thoroughly 
see, and understand, from the going forth of a word for restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem 
unto the Christ, the Leader, hebdomads (seven and an half, and ) lxii and an half: and it 


1226 See Dan. ix. 26 (especially in the LXX.). 

1227 Comp. Isa. lv. 4. 

1228 Vir desideriorum; Gr. dvrfp ein0upiu>v; Eng. ver. “a man greatly beloved.” Elsewhere Tertullian has an- 
other rendering — “miserabilis.” See de Jej. cc. vii, ix. 

1229 Or, “abbreviated;” breviatae sunt; Gr. auverprj0vaav. For this rendering, and the interpretations which 
in ancient and modern days have been founded on it, see G. S. Faber’s Dissert, on the prophecy of the seventy 
weeks, pp. 5,6, 109-112. (London, 1811.) The whole work will repay perusal. 

1230 These words are given, by Oehler and Rig., on the authority of Pamelius. The mss. and early editions 
are without them. 


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shall convert, and shall be built into height and entrenchment, and the times shall be renewed: 
and after these lxii hebdomads shall the anointing be exterminated, and shall not be; and 
the city and the holy place shall he exterminate together with the Leader, who is making 
His advent; and they shall be cut short as in a deluge, until (the) end of a war, which shall 
be cut short unto ruin. And he shall confirm a testament in many. In one hebdomad and 
the half of the hebdomad shall be taken away my sacrifice and libation, and in the holy place 
the execration of devastation, (and ) until the end of (the) time consummation shall be 

1232 

given with regard to this devastation.” 

Observe we, therefore, the limit, — how, in truth, he predicts that there are to be lxx 
hebdomads, within which if they receive Him, “it shall be built into height and entrenchment, 
and the times shall be renewed.” But God, foreseeing what was to be — that they will not 
merely not receive Him, but will both persecute and deliver Him to death — both recapitulated, 
and said, that in lx and ii and an half of an hebdomad He is born, and an holy one of holy 
ones is anointed; but that when vii hebdomads and an half were fulfilling, He had to 
suffer, and the holy city had to be exterminated after one and an half hebdomad — whereby 
namely, the seven and an half hebdomads have been completed. For he says thus: “And the 
city and the holy place to be exterminated together with the leader who is to come; and they 
shall be cut short as in a deluge; and he shall destroy the pinnacle unto ruin.” 1234 Whence, 
therefore, do we show that the Christ came within the lxii and an half hebdomads? We shall 
count, moreover, from the first year of Darius, as at this particular time is shown to Daniel 
this particular vision; for he says, “And understand and conjecture that at the completion 
of thy word I make thee these answers.” Whence we are bound to compute from the 
first year of Darius, when Daniel saw this vision. 

Let us see, therefore, how the years are filled up until the advent of the Christ: — 

For Darius reigned... xviiii years (19). 


1231 Also supplied by Pamelius. 

1232 See Dan. ix . 24-27. It seemed best to render with the strictest literality, without regard to anything else; 
as an idea will thus then be given of the condition of the text, which, as it stands, differs widely, as will be seen, 
from the Hebrew and also from the LXX., as it stands in the ed. Tisch. Lips. 1860, to which I always adapt my 
references. 

1233 Hebdomades is preferred to Oehler’s -as, a reading which he follows apparently on slender authority. 

1234 There is no trace of these last words in Tischendorf s LXX. here; and only in his footnotes is the “pinnacle” 
mentioned. 

1235 Or, “speech.” The reference seems to be to ver. 23, but there is no such statement in Daniel. 

1236 So Oehler; and I print all these numbers uniformly — as in the former part of the present chapter — exactly 
in accordance with the Latin forms, for the sake of showing how easily, in such calculations, errors may creep 
in. 


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Artaxerxes reigned. . .xl and i years (41). 

Then King Ochus (who is also called Cyrus) reigned... xxiiii years (24). 

Argus... one year. 

Another Darius, who is also named Melas. . .xxi years (21). 

Alexander the Macedonian. . .xii years (12) 

Then, after Alexander, who had reigned over both Medes and Persians, whom he had 
reconquered, and had established his kingdom firmly in Alexandria, when withal he called 

1707 

that (city) by his own name; after him reigned, (there, in Alexandria,) 

Soter. . .XXXV years (35). 

To whom succeeds Philadelphus, reigning. . .xxx and viii years (38). 

To him succeeds Euergetes. . .xxv years (25). 

Then Philopator...xvii years (17). 

After him Epiphanes. . .xxiiii years (24). 

Then another Euergetes. . .xxviiii years (29). 

Then another Soter,. . .xxxviii years (38). 

Ptolemy. . .xxxvii years (37). 

Cleopatra,... xx years v months (20 5-12). 

Yet again Cleopatra reigned jointly with Augustus...xiii years (13). 

After Cleopatra, Augustus reigned other. . . xliii years (43). 

For all the years of the empire of Augustus were. . .lvi years (56). 

Let us see, moreover, how in the forty-first year of the empire of Augustus, when he has 
been reigning for xx and viii years after the death of Cleopatra, the Christ is born. (And the 
same Augustus survived, after Christ is born, xv years; and the remaining times of years to 
the day of the birth of Christ will bring us to the xl first year, which is the xx and viii th of 
Augustus after the death of Cleopatra.) There are, (then,) made up cccxxx and vii years, v 
months: (whence are filled up lxii hebdomads and an half: which make up ccccxxxvii years, 
vi months:) on the day of the birth of Christ. And (then) “righteousness eternal” was 
manifested, and “an Holy One of holy ones was anointed” — that is, Christ — and “sealed was 
vision and prophet,” and “sins” were remitted, which, through faith in the name of Christ, 

1 TOO 

are washed away for all who believe on Him. But what does he mean by saying that 
“vision and prophecy are sealed ?” That all prophets ever announced of Him that He was to 
come and had to suffer. Therefore, since the prophecy was fulfilled through His advent, for 
that reason he said that “vision and prophecy were sealed;” inasmuch as He is the signet of 


1237 Comp. Ps. xlix. 11 (in LXX. Ps. xlviii. 12). 

1238 Diluuntur. So Oehler has amended for the reading of the mss. and edd., “tribuuntur.” 


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1 ^ OQ 

all prophets, fulfilling all things which in days bygone they had announced of Him. For 
after the advent of Christ and His passion there is no longer “vision or prophet” to announce 
Him as to come. In short, if this is not so, let the Jews exhibit, subsequently to Christ, any 
volumes of prophets, visible miracles wrought by any angels, (such as those) which in bygone 
days the patriarchs saw until the advent of Christ, who is now come; since which event 
“sealed is vision and prophecy,” that is, confirmed. And justly does the evangelist 1240 write, 
“The law and the prophets (were) until John” the Baptist. For, on Christ’s being baptized, 
that is, on His sanctifying the waters in His own baptism, 1241 all the plenitude of bygone 
spiritual grace-gifts ceased in Christ, sealing as He did all vision and prophecies, which by 
His advent He fulfilled. Whence most firmly does he assert that His advent “seals visions 
and prophecy.” 

Accordingly, showing, (as we have done,) both the number of the years, and the time 
of the lx two and an half fulfilled hebdomads, on completion of which, (we have shown) 
that Christ is come, that is, has been born, let us see what (mean) other “vii and an half 
hebdomads,” which have been subdivided in the abscision of 1242 the former hebdomads; 
(let us see, namely,) in what event they have been fulfilled: — 

For, after Augustus who survived after the birth of Christ, are made up... xv years (15). 

To whom succeeded Tiberius Caesar, and held the empire. . .xx years, vii months, xxviii 
days (20 etc.). 

(In the fiftieth year of his empire Christ suffered, being about xxx years of age when he 
suffered.) 

Again Caius Caesar, also called Caligula,... iii years, viii months, xiii days (3 etc.). 

Nero Caesar,... xi years, ix months, xiii days (11 etc.). 

Galba...vii months, vi days. (7 etc.). 

Otho...iii days. 

Vitellius,. . .viii mos., xxvii days (8 mos.). 

Vespasian, in the first year of his empire, subdues the Jews in war; and there are made 
lii years, vi months. For he reigned xi years. And thus, in the day of their storming, 
the Jews fulfilled the lxx hebdomads predicted in Daniel. 


1239 Comp. Pusey on Daniel, pp. 178, 179, notes 6, 7, 8, and the passages therein referred to. And for the 
whole question of the seventy weeks, and of the LXX. version of Daniel, comp, the same book, Lect. iv. and Note 
E (2d thousand, 1864). See also pp. 376-381 of the same book; and Faber (as above), pp. 293-297. 

1240 Or rather, our Lord Himself. See Matt. xi. 13; Luke xvi. 16. 

1241 Comp, the very obscure passage in de Pu. c. vi., towards the end, on which this expression appears to 
cast some light. 

1242 Or, “in abscision from.” 


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Therefore, when these times also were completed, and the Jews subdued, there afterwards 
ceased in that place “libations and sacrifices,” which thenceforward have not been able to 
be in that place celebrated; for “the unction,” too , 1243 was “exterminated” in that place after 
the passion of Christ. For it had been predicted that the unction should be exterminated in 
that place; as in the Psalms it is prophesied, “They exterminated my hands and feet .” 1244 
And the suffering of this “extermination” was perfected within the times of the lxx heb- 
domads, under Tiberius Caesar, in the consulate of Rubellius Geminus and Fufius Geminus, 
in the month of March, at the times of the passover, on the eighth day before the calends of 
April , 1245 on the first day of unleavened bread, on which they slew the lamb at even, just as 
had been enjoined by Moses . 1246 Accordingly, all the synagogue of Israel did slay Him, 
saying to Pilate, when he was desirous to dismiss Him, “His blood be upon us, and upon 
our children ;” 1247 and, “If thou dismiss him, thou art not a friend of Caesar ;” 1248 in order 
that all things might be fulfilled which had been written of Him . 1249 


1243 And, without “unction” — i.e. without a priesthood, the head whereof, or high priest, was always anoin- 
ted — no “sacrifices” were lawful. 

1244 See Ps. xxii. 16 (xxi. 17 in LXX.) 

1245 i.e., March 25. 

1246 Comp. Ex. xii. 6 with Mark xiv. 12, Luke xxii. 7. 

1247 See Matt, xxvii. 24, 25, with John xix. 12 and Acts iii. 13. 

1248 John xix. 12. 

1249 Comp. Luke xxiv. 44, etc. 


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Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


Chapter IX. — Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 

Begin we, therefore, to prove that the Birth of Christ was announced by prophets; as 
Isaiah ( e.g .,) foretells, “Hear ye, house of David; no petty contest have ye with men, since 
God is proposing a struggle. Therefore God Himself will give you a sign; Behold, the vir- 
gin 1250 shall conceive, and bear a son, and ye shall call his name Emmanuel ” 1251 (which is, 
interpreted, “God with us ): “butter and honey shall he eat;” : “since, ere the child 
learn to call father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus and the spoils of 
Samaria, in opposition to the king of the Assyrians .” 1254 

Accordingly the Jews say: Let us challenge that prediction of Isaiah, and let us institute 
a comparison whether, in the case of the Christ who is already come, there be applicable to 
Him, firstly, the name which Isaiah foretold, and (secondly) the signs of it which he 
announced of Him. 

Well, then, Isaiah foretells that it behoves Him to be called Emmanuel; and that sub- 
sequently He is to take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria, in opposition to 
the king of the Assyrians. “Now,” say they, “that (Christ) of yours, who is come, neither was 
called by that name, nor engaged in warfare.” But we, on the contrary, have thought they 
ought to be admonished to recall to mind the context of this passage as well. For subjoined 

i o r/r 

is withal the interpretation of Emmanuel — “God with us — in order that you may regard 

not the sound only of the name, but the sense too. For the Hebrew sound, which is Em- 
manuel, has an interpretation, which is, God with us. Inquire, then, whether this speech, 
“God with us” (which is Emmanuel), be commonly applied to Christ ever since Christ’s 
light has dawned, and I think you will not deny it. For they who out of Judaism believe in 
Christ, ever since their believing on Him, do, whenever they shall wish to say Emmanuel, 
signify that God is with us: and thus it is agreed that He who was ever predicted as Emmanuel 
is already come, because that which Emmanuel signifies is come — that is, “God with us.” 
Equally are they led by the sound of the name when they so understand “the power of 
Damascus,” and “the spoils of Samaria,” and “the kingdom of the Assyrians,” as if they 


1250 “A virgin,” Eng. ver.; r| itapBevoq LXX.; “the virgin,” Lowth. 

1251 See Isa. vii. 13, 14. 

1252 See Matt. i. 23. 

1253 See Isa vii. 15. 

1254 See Isa. viii. 4. (All these passages should be read in the LXX.) 

1255 i.e., of the predicted name. [Here compare Against Marcion , Book III. (vol. vii. Edin. series) Cap. xii. p. 
142. See my note (1) on Chapter First; and also Kaye, p. xix.] 

1256 In Isa. viii. 8, 10, compared with vii. 14 in the Eng. ver. and the LXX., and also Lowth, introductory remarks 
on ch. viii. 

1257 Or, “to call him.” 


337 


Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


portended Christ as a warrior; not observing that Scripture premises, “since, ere the child 
learn to call father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus and the spoils of 
Samaria, in opposition to the king of the Assyrians.” For the first step is to look at the 
demonstration of His age, to see whether the age there indicated can possibly exhibit the 
Christ as already a man, not to say a. general. Forsooth, by His babyish cry the infant would 
summon men to arms, and would give the signal of war not with clarion, but with rattle, 
and point out the foe, not from His charger’s back or from a rampart, but from the back or 
neck of His suckler and nurse, and thus subdue Damascus and Samaria in place of the breast. 
(It is another matter if, among you, infants rush out into battle, — oiled first, I suppose, to 
dry in the sun, and then armed with satchels and rationed on butter, — who are to know how 
to lance sooner than how to lacerate the bosom!) Certainly, if nature nowhere allows 
this, — (namely,) to serve as a soldier before developing into manhood, to take “the power 
of Damascus” before knowing your father, — it follows that the pronouncement is visibly 
figurative. “But again,” say they, “nature suffers not a Virgin’ to be a parent; and yet the 
prophet must be believed.” And deservedly so; for he bespoke credit for a thing incredible, 
by saying that it was to be a sign. “Therefore,” he says, “shall a sign be given you. Behold, a 
virgin shall conceive in womb, and bear a son.” But a sign from God, unless it had consisted 
in some portentous novelty, would not have appeared a sign. In a word, if, when you are 
anxious to cast any down from (a belief in) this divine prediction, or to convert whoever 
are simple, you have the audacity to lie, as if the Scripture contained (the announcement), 
that not “a virgin,” but “a young female,” was to conceive and bring forth; you are refuted 
even by this fact, that a daily occurrence — the pregnancy and parturition of a young female, 
namely — cannot possibly seem anything of a sign. And the setting before us, then, of a virgin- 
mother is deservedly believed to be a sign-, but not equally so a warrior-infant. For there 
would not in this case again be involved the question of a sign; but, the sign of a novel birth 
having been awarded, the next step after the sign is, that there is enunciated a different en- 
suing ordering 1259 of the infant, who is to eat “honey and butter.” Nor is this, of course, for 
a sign. It is natural to infancy. But that he is to receive 1260 “the power of Damascus and the 
spoils of Samaria in opposition to the king of the Assyrians,” this is a wondrous sign. Keep 
to the limit of (the infant’s) age, and inquire into the sense of the prediction; nay, rather, 
repay to truth what you are unwilling to credit her with, and the prophecy becomes intelligible 
by the relation of its fulfilment. Let those Eastern magi be believed, dowering with gold and 
incense the infancy of Christ as a king; and the infant has received “the power of Dam- 


1258 See adv. Marc. 1. iii. c. xiii., which, with the preceding chapter, should be compared throughout with the 
chapter before us. 

1259 Comp. Judg. xiii. 12; Eng. ver. “How shall we order the child?” 

1260 Or, “accept.” 

1261 See Matt. ii. 1-12. 


338 


Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


ascus” without battle and arms. For, besides the fact that it is known to all that the 
“power” — for that is the “strength” — of the East is wont to abound in gold and odours, certain 
it is that the divine Scriptures regard “gold” as constituting the “power” also of all other 
nations; as it says through Zechariah: “And Judah keepeth guard at Jerusalem, and shall 
amass all the vigour of the surrounding peoples, gold and silver.” For of this gift of 
“gold” David likewise says, “And to Him shall be given of the gold of Arabia ;” 1264 and again, 
“The kings of the Arabs and Saba shall bring Him gifts.” ~ For the East, on the one hand, 
generally held the magi (to be) kings; and Damascus, on the other hand, used formerly to 
be reckoned to Arabia before it was transferred into Syrophoenicia on the division of the 
Syrias: the “power” whereof Christ then “received” in receiving its ensigns, — gold, to wit, 
and odours. “The spoils,” moreover, “of Samaria” (He received in receiving) the magi 
themselves, who, on recognising Him, and honouring Him with gifts, and adoring Him on 
bended knee as Lord and King, on the evidence of the guiding and indicating star, became 
“the spoils of Samaria,” that is, of idolatry — by believing, namely, on Christ. For (Scripture) 
denoted idolatry by the name of “Samaria,” Samaria being ignominious on the score of id- 
olatry; for she had at that time revolted from God under King Jeroboam. For this, again, is 
no novelty to the Divine Scriptures, figuratively to use a transference of name grounded on 
parallelism of crimes. For it calls your rulers “rulers of Sodom,” and your people the 
“people of Gomorrha,” when those cities had already long been extinct. And else- 
where it says, through a prophet, to the people of Israel, “Thy father (was) an Amorite, and 
thy mother an Hittite ;” 1269 of whose race they were not begotten, but (were called their 
sons) by reason of their consimilarity in impiety, whom of old (God) had called His own 
sons through Isaiah the prophet: “I have generated and exalted sons. So, too, Egypt is 

1971 

sometimes understood to mean the whole world in that prophet, on the count of super- 

1 979 

stition and malediction. So, again, Babylon, in our own John, is a figure of the city Rome, 


1262 Of course he ought to have said, “they say.” 

1263 Zech. xiv. 14, omitting the last clause. 

1264 Ps. lxxii. 15 (lxxi. 15 in LXX.): “Sheba” in Eng. ver.; “Arabia” in the “Great Bible” of 1539; and so the 
LXX. 

1265 Ps. lxxii. 10, in LXX, and “Great Bible;” “Sheba and Seba,” Eng. ver. 

1266 Strictly, Tertullian ought to have said “they call,” having above said “Divine scriptures;” as above on the 
preceding page. 

1267 Isa. i. 10. 

1268 See Gen. xix. 23-29. 

1269 Ezek. xvi. 3, 45. 

1270 Isa. i. 2, as before. 

1271 Orbis. 

1272 Oehler refers to Isa. xix. 1. See, too, Isa. xxx. and xxxi. 


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Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


1 973 

as being equally great and proud of her sway, and triumphant over the saints. On this 
wise, accordingly, (Scripture ) 1274 entitled the magi also with the appellation of “Samarit- 
ans,” — “despoiled” (of that) which they had had in common with the Samaritans, as we 
have said — idolatry in opposition to the Lord. (It adds), “in opposition,” moreover, “to 

the king of the Assyrians,” — in opposition to the devil, who to this hour thinks himself to 
be reigning, if he detrudes the saints from the religion of God. 

Moreover, this our interpretation will be supported while (we find that) elsewhere as 
well the Scriptures designate Christ a warrior, as we gather from the names of certain 
weapons, and words of that kind. But by a comparison of the remaining senses the Jews 
shall be convicted. “Gird thee,” says David, “the sword upon the thigh.” But what do 
you read above concerning the Christ? “Blooming in beauty above the sons of men; grace 
is outpoured in thy lips.” But very absurd it is if he was complimenting on the bloom 
of his beauty and the grace of his lips, one whom he was girding for war with a sword; of 
whom he proceeds subjunctively to say, “Outstretch and prosper, advance and reign!” And 
he has added, “because of thy lenity and justice.” Who will ply the sword without prac- 
tising the contraries to lenity and justice; that is, guile, and asperity, and injustice, proper 
(of course) to the business of battles? See we, then, whether that which has another action 
be not another sword, — that is, the Divine word of God, doubly sharpened with the two 
Testaments of the ancient law and the new law; sharpened by the equity of its own wisdom; 
rendering to each one according to his own action. Lawful , then, it was for the Christ 
of God to be precinct, in the Psalms, without warlike achievements, with the figurative sword 
of the word of God; to which sword is congruous the predicated “bloom,” together with the 
“grace of the lips;” with which sword He was then “girt upon the thigh,” in the eye of David, 
when He was announced as about to come to earth in obedience to God the Father’s decree. 
“The greatness of thy right hand,” he says, “shall conduct thee” — the virtue to wit, of 

the spiritual grace from which the recognition of Christ is deduced. “Thine arrows,” he says, 
“are sharp,” — God’s everywhere-flying precepts (arrows) threatening the exposure 


1273 See Rev. xvii., etc. 

1274 Or we may supply here [“Isaiah”]. 

1275 Or, “he.” 

1276 Ps. xlv. 3, clause 1 (in LXX. Ps. xliv. 4). 

1277 See Ps. xlv. 2 (xliv. 3 in LXX.). 

1278 Ps. xlv. 4 (xliv. 5 in LXX.). 

1279 Comp. Heb. iv. 12; Rev. i. 16; ii. 12; xix. 15, 21; also Eph. vi. 17. 

1280 Comp. Ps. lxii. 12 (lxi. 13 in LXX.); Rom. ii. 6. 

1281 See Ps. xlv. 5 (xliv. in LXX.). 

1282 Ps. xlv. 5 (xliv. 6 in LXX.). 

1283 Traductionem (comp. Heb. iv. 13). 


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Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


of every heart, and carrying compunction and transfixion to each conscience: “peoples shall 
fall beneath thee,” 1284 — of course, in adoration. Thus mighty in war and weapon-bearing 
is Christ; thus will He “receive the spoils,” not of “Samaria” alone, but of all nations as well. 
Acknowledge that His “spoils” are figurative whose weapons you have learnt to be allegor- 
ical. And thus, so far, the Christ who is come was not a warrior, because He was not predicted 
as such by Isaiah. 

“But if the Christ,” say they, “who is believed to be coming is not called Jesus, why is he 
who is come called Jesus Christ?” Well, each name will meet in the Christ of God, in whom 
is found likewise the appellation Jesus. Learn the habitual character of your error. In 

1 9 1 9ft7 

the course of the appointing of a successor to Moses, Oshea the son of Nun is certainly 

i TOO 

transferred from his pristine name, and begins to be called Jesus. Certainly, you say. 
This we first assert to have been a figure of the future. For, because Jesus Christ was to intro- 

1 98Q 

duce the second people (which is composed of us nations, lingering deserted in the world 
aforetime) into the land of promise, “flowing with milk and honey ” 1290 (that is, into the 
possession of eternal life, than which nought is sweeter); and this had to come about, not 
through Moses (that is, not through the Law’s discipline), but through Joshua (that is, 
through the new law’s grace), after our circumcision with “a knife of rock ” 1291 (that is, with 
Christ’s precepts, for Christ is in many ways and figures predicted as a rock ); therefore 
the man who was being prepared to act as images of this sacrament was inaugurated under 
the figure of the Lord’s name, even so as to be named Jesus. For He who ever spake to 
Moses was the Son of God Himself; who, too, was always seen . 1294 For God the Father none 


1284 Ps. xlv. 5. 

1285 I can find no authority for “appellatus” as a substantive, but such forms are familiar with Tertullian. Or 
perhaps we may render: “in that He is found to have been likewise called Jesus.” 

1286 Auses; Altar) in LXX. 

1287 Nave; Naur) in LXX. 

1288 Jehoshua, Joshua, Jeshua, Jesus, are all forms of the same name. But the change from Oshea or Hoshea 
to Jehoshua appears to have been made when he was sent to spy the land. See Num. xiii. 16 (17 in LXX., who 
call it a surnaming). 

1289 If Oehler’s “in saeculo desertae” is to be retained, this appears to be the construction. But this passage, 
like others above noted, is but a reproduction of parts of the third book in answer to Marcion; and there the 
reading is “in saeculi desertis”="in the desert places of the world,” or “of heathendom.” 

1290 See Ex. iii. 8, and the references there. 

1291 See Josh. v. 2-9, especially in LXX. Comp, the margin in the Eng. ver. in ver. 2, “flint knives,” and 
Wordsworth in loc., who refers to Ex. iv. 25, for which see ch. iii. above. 

1292 See especially 1 Cor. x. 4. 

1293 Or, “Joshua.” 

1294 Comp. Num. xii. 5-8. 


341 


Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


ever saw, and lived . 1295 And accordingly it is agreed that the Son of God Himself spake to 
Moses, and said to the people, “Behold, I send mine angel before thy” — that is, the 
people’s — “face, to guard thee on the march, and to introduce thee into the land which I 
have prepared thee: attend to him, and be not disobedient to him; for he hath not escaped 1296 
thy notice, since my name is upon him. For Joshua was to introduce the people into 
the land of promise, not Moses. Now He called him an “angel,” on account of the magnitude 
of the mighty deeds which he was to achieve (which mighty deeds Joshua the son of Nun 
did, and you yourselves read), and on account of his office of prophet announcing (to wit) 
the divine will; just as withal the Spirit, speaking in the person of the Father, calls the fore- 
runner of Christ, John, a future “angel,” through the prophet: “Behold, I send mine angel 
before Thy” — that is, Christ’s — “face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee .” 1298 Nor is 
it a novel practice to the Holy Spirit to call those “angels” whom God has appointed as 
ministers of His power. For the same John is called not merely an “angel” of Christ, but 
withal a “lamp” shining before Christ: for David predicts, “I have prepared the lamp for my 
Christ ;” 1299 and him Christ Himself, coming “to fulfil the prophets ,” 1300 called so to the 
Jews. “He was,” He says, “the burning and shining lamp ;” 1301 as being he who not merely 
“prepared His ways in the desert,” but withal, by pointing out “the Lamb of God,” 
illumined the minds of men by his heralding, so that they understood Him to be that Lamb 
whom Moses was wont to announce as destined to suffer. Thus, too, (was the son of Nun 
called) Joshua, on account of the future mystery 1304 of his name: for that name (He who 
spake with Moses) confirmed as His own which Himself had conferred on him, because He 
had bidden him thenceforth be called, not “angel” nor “Oshea,” but “Joshua.” Thus, therefore, 
each name is appropriate to the Christ of God — that He should be called Jesus as well (as 
Christ). 

And that the virgin of whom it behoved Christ to be born (as we have above mentioned) 
must derive her lineage of the seed of David, the prophet in subsequent passages evidently 


1295 Comp. Ex. xxxiii. 20; John i. 18; xiv. 9; Col. i. 15; Heb. i. 3. 

1296 Oehler and others read “celav/f”; but the correction of Fr. Junius and Rig., “cela bit” is certainly more 
agreeable to the LXX. and the Eng. ver. 

1297 Ex. xxiii. 20, 21. 

1298 Mai. iii. 1: comp. Matt. xi. 10; Mark i. 2; Luke vii. 27. 

1299 See Ps. cxxxii. 17 (cxxi. 17 in LXX.). 

1300 Matt. v. 17, briefly; a very favourite reference with Tertullian. 

1301 John v. 35, 6 Auxvo <; 6 Kaiopcvoc Kai cpaivwv. 

1302 Comp, reference 8, p. 232; and Isa. xl. 3, John i. 23. 

1303 See John i. 29, 36. 

1304 Sacramentum. 


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Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


asserts. “And there shall be born,” he says, “a rod from the root of Jesse” — which rod is 
Mary — “and a flower shall ascend from his root: and there shall rest upon him the Spirit of 
God, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of discernment and piety, the spirit 
of counsel and truth; the spirit of God’s fear shall fill Him .” 1305 For to none of men was the 
universal aggregation of spiritual credentials appropriate, except to Christ; paralleled as He 
is to a “flower” by reason of glory, by reason of grace; but accounted “of the root of Jesse,” 
whence His origin is to be deduced, — to wit, through Mary . 1306 For He was from the native 
soil of Bethlehem, and from the house of David; as, among the Romans, Mary is described 

1 / 2(\ r 7 

in the census, of whom is born Christ. 

I demand, again — granting that He who was ever predicted by prophets as destined to 
come out of Jesse’s race, was withal to exhibit all humility, patience, and tranquillity — whether 
He be come? Equally so (in this case as in the former), the man who is shown to bear that 
character will be the very Christ who is come. For of Him the prophet says, “A man set in 
a plague, and knowing how to bear infirmity;” who “was led as a sheep for a victim; and, as 
a lamb before him who sheareth him, opened not His mouth.” If He “neither did contend 

nor shout, nor was His voice heard abroad,” who “crushed not the bruised reed” — Israel’s 
faith, who “quenched not the burning flax” 1309 — that is, the momentary glow of the Gen- 
tiles — but made it shine more by the rising of His own light, — He can be none other than 
He who was predicted. The action, therefore, of the Christ who is come must be examined 
by being placed side by side with the rule of the Scriptures. For, if I mistake not, we find 
Him distinguished by a twofold operation, — that of preaching and that of power. Now, let 
each count be disposed of summarily. Accordingly, let us work out the order we have set 
down, teaching that Christ was announced as a preacher; as, through Isaiah: “Cry out,” he 
says, “in vigour, and spare not; lift up, as with a trumpet, thy voice, and announce to my 
commonalty their crimes, and to the house of Jacob their sins. Me from day to day they 
seek, and to learn my ways they covet, as a people which hath done righteousness, and hath 
not forsaken the judgment of God,” and so forth : 1310 that, moreover, He was to do acts of 
power from the Father: “Behold, our God will deal retributive judgment; Himself will come 
and save us: then shall the infirm be healed, and the eyes of the blind shall see, and the ears 
of the deaf shall hear, and the mutes’ tongues shall be loosed, and the lame shall leap as an 
hart, and so on; which works not even you deny that Christ did, inasmuch as you were 


1305 See Isa. xi. 1,2, especially in LXX. 

1306 See Luke i. 27. 

1307 See Luke ii. 1-7. 

1308 See Isa. liii. 3, 7, in LXX.; and comp. Ps. xxxviii. 17 (xxxvii. 18 in LXX.) in the “Great Bible” of 1539. 

1309 See Isa. xlii. 2, 3, and Matt. xii. 19, 20. 

1310 See Isa. lviii. 1, 2, especially in LXX. 

1311 See Isa. xxxv. 4, 5, 6. 


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Of the Prophecies of the Birth and Achievements of Christ. 


wont to say that, “on account of the works ye stoned Him not, but because He did them on 
the Sabbaths .” 1312 


1312 See John v. 17, 18, compared with x. 31-33. 


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Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions and... 


Chapter X. — Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions 
and Adumbrations. 

Concerning the last step, plainly, of His passion you raise a doubt; affirming that the 
passion of the cross was not predicted with reference to Christ, and urging, besides, that it 
is not credible that God should have exposed His own Son to that kind of death; because 

1010 

Himself said, “Cursed is every one who shall have hung on a tree.” But the reason of the 
case antecedently explains the sense of this malediction; for He says in Deuteronomy: “If, 
moreover, (a man) shall have been (involved) in some sin incurring the judgment of death, 
and shall die, and ye shall suspend him on a tree, his body shall not remain on the tree, but 
with burial ye shall bury him on the very day; because cursed by God is every one who shall 
have been suspended on a tree; and ye shall not defile the land which the Lord thy God shall 
give thee for (thy) lot .” 1314 Therefore He did not maledictively adjudge Christ to this passion, 
but drew a distinction, that whoever, in any sin, had incurred the judgment of death, and 
died suspended on a tree, he should be “cursed by God,” because his own sins were the cause 
of his suspension on the tree. On the other hand, Christ, who spoke not guile from His 

1 o 1 r 

mouth, and who exhibited all righteousness and humility, not only (as we have above 
recorded it predicted of Him) was not exposed to that kind of death for his own deserts, but 
(was so exposed) in order that what was predicted by the prophets as destined to come upon 

1 o I /r 

Him through your means might be fulfilled; just as, in the Psalms, the Spirit Himself of 

101-7 

Christ was already singing, saying, “They were repaying me evil for good;” and, “What 

1010 1 oiq 

I had not seized I was then paying in full;” “They exterminated my hands and feet;” 
and, They put into my drink gall, and in my thirst they slaked me with vinegar;’ Upon 
my vesture they did cast (the) lot;” just as the other (outrages) which you were to commit 
on Him were foretold, — all which He, actually and thoroughly suffering, suffered not for 
any evil action of His own, but “that the Scriptures from the mouth of the prophets might 
be fulfilled .” 1322 


1313 Comp. Deut. xxi. 23 with Gal. iii. 13, with Prof. Lightfoot on the latter passage. 

1314 Deut. xxi. 22, 23 (especially in the LXX.). 

1315 See 1 Pet. ii. 22 with Isa. liii. 9. 

1316 Oehler’s pointing is disregarded. 

1317 Ps. xxxv. (xxxiv. in LXX.) 12. 

1318 Ps. lxix. 4 (lxviii. 5 in LXX.). 

1319 Ps. xxii. 16 (xxi. 17 in LXX.). 

1320 Ps. lxix. 21 (lxviii. 5 in LXX.). 

1321 Ps. xxii. 18 (xxi. 19 in LXX.). 

1322 See Matt. xxvi. 56; xxvii. 34, 35; John xix. 23, 24, 28, 32-37. 


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Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions and... 


i 292 

And, of course, it had been meet that the mystery of the passion itself should be 
figuratively set forth in predictions; and the more incredible (that mystery), the more likely 
to be “a stumbling-stone ,” 1324 if it had been nakedly predicted; and the more magnificent, 
the more to be adumbrated, that the difficulty of its intelligence might seek (help from) the 
grace of God. 

Accordingly, to begin with, Isaac, when led by his father as a victim, and himself bearing 
his own “wood,” was even at that early period pointing to Christ’s death; conceded, as 
He was, as a victim by the Father; carrying, as He did, the “wood” of His own passion. 

Joseph, again, himself was made a figure of Christ in this point alone (to name no 
more, not to delay my own course), that he suffered persecution at the hands of his brethren, 
and was sold into Egypt, on account of the favour of God; just as Christ was sold by Is- 

1 39Q 

rael — (and therefore,) “according to the flesh,” by His “brethren” — when He is betrayed 

1 2 2 Cl 1 51 1 

by Judas. For Joseph is withal blest by his father after this form: “His glory (is that) 
of a bull; his horns, the horns of an unicorn; on them shall he toss nations alike unto the 
very extremity of the earth.” Of course no one-horned rhinoceros was there pointed to, nor 
any two-horned minotaur. But Christ was therein signified: “bull,” by reason of each of His 
two characters, — to some fierce, as Judge; to others gentle, as Saviour; whose “horns” were 
to be the extremities of the cross. For even in a ship’s yard — which is part of a cross — this is 
the name by which the extremities are called; while the central pole of the mast is a “unicorn.” 
By this power, in fact, of the cross, and in this manner horned, He does now, on the one 
hand, “toss” universal nations through faith, wafting them away from earth to heaven; and 
will one day, on the other, “toss” them through judgment, casting them down from heaven 
to earth. 

He, again, will be the bull” elsewhere too in the same scripture. When Jacob pro- 
nounced a blessing on Simeon and Levi, he prophesies of the scribes and Pharisees; for from 


1323 Sacramentum. 

1324 See Rom. ix. 32, 33, with Isa. xxviii. 16; 1 Cor. i. 23; Gal. v. 11. 

1325 Lignum = ^uA.ov; constantly used for “tree.” 

1326 Comp. Gen. xxii. 1-10 with John xix. 17. 

1327 “Christum figur atus” is Oehler’s reading, after the two mss. and the Pamelian ed. of 1579; the rest read 
“figu runs” or “figur avit.” 

1328 Manifested e.g., in his two dreams. See Gen. xxxvii. 

1329 Comp. Rom. ix. 5. 

1330 Or, “Judah.” 

1331 This is an error. It is not “his father,” Jacob, but Moses, who thus blesses him. See Deut. xxxiii. 17. The 
same error occurs in adv. Marc. 1. iii. c. xxiii. 

1332 Not strictly “the same;” for here the reference is to Gen. xlix. 5-7. 


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Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions and... 


1 1 'X'XA 

them is derived their origin. For (his blessing) interprets spiritually thus: “Simeon 
and Levi perfected iniquity out of their sect,” — whereby, to wit, they persecuted Christ: 
“into their counsel come not my soul! and upon their station rest not my heart! because in 
their indignation they slew men” — that is, prophets — “and in their concupiscence they 

i oo /r 

hamstrung a bull!” — that is, Christ, whom — after the slaughter of prophets — they slew, 

and exhausted their savagery by transfixing His sinews with nails. Else it is idle if, after the 

1 'X'X'J 

murder already committed by them, he upbraids others, and not them, with butchery. 

But, to come now to Moses, why, I wonder, did he merely at the time when Joshua was 
battling against Amalek, pray sitting with hands expanded, when, in circumstances so crit- 
ical, he ought rather, surely, to have commended his prayer by knees bended, and hands 
beating his breast, and a face prostrate on the ground; except it was that there, where the 
name of the Lord Jesus was the theme of speech — destined as He was to enter the lists one 
day singly against the devil — the figure of the cross was also necessary, (that figure) through 
which Jesus was to win the victory? Why, again, did the same Moses, after the prohibition 
of any “likeness of anything,” set forth a brazen serpent, placed on a “tree,” in a hanging 

posture, for a spectacle of healing to Israel, at the time when, after their idolatry , 1340 they 
were suffering extermination by serpents, except that in this case he was exhibiting the 
Lord’s cross on which the “serpent” the devil was “made a show of ,” 1341 and, for every one 
hurt by such snakes — that is, his angels 1342 — on turning intently from the peccancy of sins 
to the sacraments of Christ’s cross, salvation was outwrought? For he who then gazed upon 
that (cross) was freed from the bite of the serpents . 1343 


1333 i.e., Simeon and Levi. 

1334 i.e., the scribes and Pharisees. 

1335 Perfecerunt iniquitatem ex sua secta. There seems to be a play on the word “secta” in connection with 
the outrage committed by Simeon and Levi, as recorded in Gen. xxxiv. 25-31; and for avvezeXeaav dSnctav 
e^aipeaeux; auttov (which is the reading of the LXX., ed. Tisch. 3, Lips. 1860), Tertullian’s Latin seems to have 
read, ouvezeXeaav dStmav aipeaeux; auttov. 

1336 See Gen. xlix. 5-7 in LXX.; and comp, the margin of Eng. ver. on ver. 7, and Wordsworth in loc., who 
incorrectly renders taupov an “ox” here. 

1337 What the sense of this is it is not easy to see. It appears to have puzzled Pam. and Rig. so effectually that 
they both, conjecturally and without authority, adopted the reading found in adv. Marc. 1. iii. c. xviii. (from 
which book, as usual, the present passage is borrowed), only altering illis to ipsis. 

1338 See Ex. xvii. 8-16; and comp. Col. ii. 14, 15. 

1339 Ex. xx. 4. 

1340 Their sin was “speaking against God and against Moses” (Num. xxi. 4-9). 

1341 Comp. Col. ii. 14, 15, as before; also Gen. iii. 1, etc.; 2 Cor. xi. 3; Rev. xii. 9. 

1342 Comp. 2 Cor. xi. 14, 15; Matt. xxv. 41; Rev. xii. 9. 

1343 Comp, de Idol. c. v.; adv. Marc. 1. iii. c. xviii. 


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Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions and... 


Come, now, if you have read in the utterance of the prophet in the Psalms, “God hath 
reigned from the tree ,” 1344 I wait to hear what you understand thereby; for fear you may 
perhaps think some carpenter-king 1345 is signified, and not Christ, who has reigned from 
that time onward when he overcame the death which ensued from His passion of “the tree.” 
Similarly, again, Isaiah says: “For a child is born to us, and to us is given a son .” 1346 
What novelty is that, unless he is speaking of the “Son” of God? — and one is born to us the 
beginning of whose government has been made “on His shoulder.” What king in the world 
wears the ensign of his power on his shoulder, and does not bear either diadem on his head, 
or else sceptre in his hand, or else some mark of distinctive vesture? But the novel “King of 
ages,” Christ Jesus, alone reared “on His shoulder” His own novel glory, and power, and 
sublimity, — the cross, to wit; that, according to the former prophecy, the Lord thenceforth 
“might reign from the tree.” For of this tree likewise it is that God hints, through Jeremiah, 
that you would say, “Come, let us put wood 1347 into his bread, and let us wear him away out 
of the land of the living; and his name shall no more be remembered .” 1348 Of course on His 
body that “wood” was put ; 1349 for so Christ has revealed, calling His body “bread ,” 1350 
whose body the prophet in bygone days announced under the term “bread.” If you shall 
still seek for predictions of the Lord’s cross, the twenty-first Psalm will at length be able to 
satisfy you, containing as it does the whole passion of Christ; singing, as He does, even at 

i o r i i in 

so early a date, His own glory. “They dug,” He says, “my hands and feet” " — which is 
the peculiar atrocity of the cross; and again when He implores the aid of the Father, “Save 
me,” He says, “out of the mouth of the lion” — of course, of death — “and from the horn of 

1 oro 

the unicorns my humility,” — from the ends, to wit, of the cross, as we have above shown; 

which cross neither David himself suffered, nor any of the kings of the Jews: that you may 
not think the passion of some other particular man is here prophesied than His who alone 
was so signally crucified by the People. 


1344 A ligno. Oehler refers us to Ps. xcvi. 10 (xcv. 10 in LXX.); but the special words “a ligno” are wanting 
there, though the text is often quoted by the Fathers. 

1345 Lignarium aliquem regem. It is remarkable, in connection herewith, that our Lord is not only called by 
the Jews “the carpenter’s son” (Matt. xiii. 55; Luke iv. 22), but “the carpenter” (Mark vi. 3). 

1346 See Isa. ix. 6. 

1347 Lignum. 

1348 See Jer. xi. 19 (in LXX.). 

1349 i.e., when they laid on Him the crossbeam to carry. See John xix. 17. 

1350 See John vi. passim, and the various accounts of the institution of the Holy Supper. 

1351 It is Ps. xxii. in our Bibles, xxi. in LXX. 

1352 Ver. 16 (17 in LXX.). 

1353 Ps. xxii. 21 (xxi. 22 in LXX., who render it as Tertullian does). 


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Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions and... 


Now, if the hardness of your heart shall persist in rejecting and deriding all these inter- 
pretations, we will prove that it may suffice that the death of the Christ had been prophesied, 
in order that, from the fact that the nature of the death had not been specified, it may be 
understood to have been affected by means of the cross 1354 and that the passion of the cross 
is not to be ascribed to any but Him whose death was constantly being predicted. For I desire 
to show, in one utterance of Isaiah, His death, and passion, and sepulture. “By the crimes,” 
he says, “of my people was He led unto death; and I will give the evil for His sepulture, and 
the rich for His death, because He did not wickedness, nor was guile found in his mouth; 
and God willed to redeem His soul from death,” and so forth. He says again, moreover: 
“His sepulture hath been taken away from the midst.” For neither was He buried except 
He were dead, nor was His sepulture removed from the midst except through His resurrec- 
tion. Finally, he subjoins: “Therefore He shall have many for an heritage, and of many shall 
He divide spoils:” who else (shall so do) but He who “was born,” as we have above 
shown? — “in return for the fact that His soul was delivered unto death?” For, the cause of 
the favour accorded Him being shown, — in return, to wit, for the injury of a death which 
had to be recompensed, — it is likewise shown that He, destined to attain these rewards because 
o/death, was to attain them after death — of course after resurrection. For that which happened 
at His passion, that mid-day grew dark, the prophet Amos announces, saying, “And it shall 
be,” he says, “in that day, saith the Lord, the sun shall set at mid-day, and the day of light 
shall grow dark over the land: and I will convert your festive days into grief, and all your 
canticles into lamentation; and I will lay upon your loins sackcloth, and upon every head 
baldness; and I will make the grief like that for a beloved (son), and them that are with him 
like a day of mourning.” For that you would do thus at the beginning of the first month 

of your new (years) even Moses prophesied, when he was foretelling that all the community 
of the sons of Israel was 1359 to immolate at eventide a lamb, and were to eat 1360 this solemn 
sacrifice of this day (that is, of the passover of unleavened bread) with bitterness;” and added 

1 O/TI 

that “it was the passover of the Lord,” that is, the passion of Christ. Which prediction 


1354 i.e., perhaps, because of the extreme ignominy attaching to that death, which prevented its being expressly 
named. 

1355 Isa. liii. 8, 9, 10, (in LXX.). 

1356 Isa. lvii. 2 (in LXX.). 

1357 Isa. liii. 12 (in LXX.). Comp., too, Bp. Lowth. Oehler’s pointing again appears to be faulty. 

1358 See Amos viii. 9, 10 (especially in the LXX.). 

1359 Oehler’s “esset” appears to be a mistake for “esse.” 

1360 The change from singular to plural is due to the Latin, not to the translator. 

1361 See Ex. xii. 1-11. 


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Concerning the Passion of Christ, and Its Old Testament Predictions and... 


1 36? 1 363 

was thus also fulfilled, that “on the first day of unleavened bread” you slew Christ; 
and (that the prophecies might be fulfilled) the day hasted to make an “eventide,” — that is, 
to cause darkness, which was made at mid-day; and thus “your festive days God converted 
into grief, and your canticles into lamentation.” For after the passion of Christ there overtook 
you even captivity and dispersion, predicted before through the Holy Spirit. 


1362 See Matt. xxvi. 17; Mark xiv. 12; Luke xxii. 7; John xviii. 28. 

1363 Comp. 1 Cor. v. 7. 


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Further Proofs, from Ezekiel. Summary of the Prophetic Argument Thus Fa... 


Chapter XI. — Further Proofs, from Ezekiel. Summary of the Prophetic Argument 
Thus Far. 

For, again, it is for these deserts of yours that Ezekiel announces your ruin as about to 

come: and not only in this age 1364 — a ruin which has already befallen — but in the “day of 

retribution,” which will be subsequent. From which ruin none will be freed but he who 

shall have been frontally sealed with the passion of the Christ whom you have rejected. 

For thus it is written: “And the Lord said unto me, Son of man, thou hast seen what the 

elders of Israel do, each one of them in darkness, each in a hidden bed-chamber: because 

they have said, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath derelinquished the earth. And He said 

unto me, Turn thee again, and thou shalt see greater enormities which these do. And He 

introduced me unto the thresholds of the gate of the house of the Lord which looketh unto 

the north; and, behold, there, women sitting and bewailing Thammuz. And the Lord said 

unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen? Is the house of Judah moderate, to do the enormities 

which they have done? And yet thou art about to see greater affections of theirs. And He 

introduced me into the inner shrine of the house of the Lord; and, behold, on the thresholds 

of the house of the Lord, between the midst of the porch and between the midst of the al- 

tar, as it were twenty and five men have turned their backs unto the temple of the Lord, 

and their faces over against the east; these were adoring the sun. And He said unto me, Seest 

thou, son of man? Are such deeds trifles to the house of Judah, that they should do the 

enormities which these have done? because they have filled up (the measure of) their impi- 

1 

eties, and, behold, are themselves, as it were, grimacing; I will deal with mine indignation, 
mine eye shall not spare, neither will I pity; they shall cry out unto mine ears with a loud 
voice, and I will not hear them, nay, I will not pity. And He cried into mine ears with a loud 
voice, saying, The vengeance of this city is at hand; and each one had vessels of extermination 
in his hand. And, behold, six men were coming toward the way of the high gate which was 
looking toward the north, and each one’s double-axe of dispersion was in his hand: and one 
man in the midst of them, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet , 1369 and a girdle of 
sapphire about his loins: and they entered, and took their stand close to the brazen altar. 


1364 Saeculo. 

1365 Comp. Isa. lxi. 2. 

1366 Or possibly, simply, “sealed” — obsignatus. 

1367 Inter mediam elam et inter medium altaris: i.e., probably ="between the porch and the altar,” as the Eng. 
ver. has. 

1 368 So Oehler points, and Tischendorf in his edition of the LXX. points not very differently. I incline to read: 
“Because they have filled up the measure of their impieties, and, behold (are) themselves, as it were, grimacing, 
I will,” etc. 

1369 Comp. Rev. i. 13. 


351 


Further Proofs, from Ezekiel. Summary of the Prophetic Argument Thus Fa... 


1 370 

And the glory of the God of Israel, which was over the house, in the open court of it, 
ascended from the cherubim: and the Lord called the man who was clothed with the garment 
reaching to the feet, who had upon his loins the girdle; and said unto him, Pass through the 
midst of Jerusalem, and write the sign Tau on the foreheads of the men who groan and 
grieve over all the enormities which are done in their midst. And while these things were 
doing, He said unto an hearer, Go ye after him into the city, and cut short; and spare 
not with your eyes, and pity not elder or youth or virgin; and little ones and women slay ye 
all, that they may be thoroughly wiped away; but all upon whom is the sign Tau approach 
ye not; and begin with my saints.” Now the mystery of this “sign” was in various ways 
predicted; (a “sign”) in which the foundation of life was forelaid for mankind; (a “sign”) in 
which the Jews were not to believe: just as Moses beforetime kept on announcing in Ex- 
odus , 1374 saying, “Ye shall be ejected from the land into which ye shall enter; and in those 
nations ye shall not be able to rest: and there shall be instability of the print of thy foot: 

and God shall give thee a wearying heart, and a pining soul, and failing eyes, that they see 
not: and thy life shall hang on the tree before thine eyes; and thou shaft not trust thy 
life.” 

And so, since prophecy has been fulfilled through His advent — that is, through the 
nativity, which we have above commemorated, and the passion, which we have evidently 
explained — that is the reason withal why Daniel said, “Vision and prophet were sealed;” 
because Christ is the “signet” of all prophets, fulfilling all that had in days bygone been an- 
nounced concerning Him: for, since His advent and personal passion, there is no longer 
“vision” or “prophet;” whence most emphatically he says that His advent “seals vision and 
prophecy.” And thus, by showing “the number of the years, and the time of the lxii and an 
half fulfilled hebdomads,” we have proved that at that specified time Christ came, that is, 
was born; and, (by showing the time) of the “seven and an half hebdomads,” which are 
subdivided so as to be cut off from the former hebdomads, within which times we have 


1370 “Quae fuit super earn” (i.e. super do mum) “in subdivali domus” is Oehler’s reading; but it differs from 
the LXX. 

1371 The ms. which Oehler usually follows omits “Tau;” so do the LXX. 

1372 Et in his dixit ad audientem. But the LXX. reading agrees almost verbatim with the Eng. ver. 

1373 Ezek. viii. 12-ix. 6 (especially in the LXX.). Comp. adv. Marc. 1. iii. c. xxii. But our author differs consid- 
erably even from the LXX. 

1374 Or rather in Deuteronomy. See xxviii. 65 sqq. 

1375 Or, “sole.” 

1376 In ligno. There are no such words in the LXX. If the words be retained, “thy life” will mean Christ, who 
is called “our Life” in Col. iii. 4. See also John i. 4; xiv. 6; xi. 25. And so, again, “Thou shalt not trust (or believe) 
thy life” would mean, “Thou shalt not believe Christ.” 


352 


Further Proofs, from Ezekiel. Summary of the Prophetic Argument Thus Fa... 


shown Christ to have suffered, and by the consequent conclusion of the “lxx hebdomads,” 
and the extermination of the city, (we have proved) that “sacrifice and unction” thenceforth 
cease. 

Sufficient it is thus far, on these points, to have meantime traced the course of the or- 
dained path of Christ, by which He is proved to be such as He used to be announced, even 
on the ground of that agreement of Scriptures, which has enabled us to speak out, in oppos- 

1 ' 3 ' 7'7 

ition to the Jews, on the ground of the prejudgment of the major part. For let them not 

question or deny the writings we produce; that the fact also that things which were foretold 
as destined to happen after Christ are being recognised as fulfilled may make it impossible 
for them to deny (these writings) to be on a par with divine Scriptures. Else, unless He were 
come after whom the things which were wont to be announced had to be accomplished, 

1 "270 

would such as have been completed be proved? 


1377 Or, “in accordance with.” 

1378 i.e., Would they have happened? and, by happening, have been their own proof? 


353 



Further Proofs from the Calling of the Gentiles. 


Chapter XII. — Further Proofs from the Calling of the Gentiles. 

Look at the universal nations thenceforth emerging from the vortex of human error to 
the Lord God the Creator and His Christ; and if you dare to deny that this was prophesied, 
forthwith occurs to you the promise of the Father in the Psalms, which says, “My Son art 
Thou; to-day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Thee Gentiles as Thine her- 
itage, and as Thy possession the bounds of the earth.” For you will not be able to affirm 

that “son” to be David rather than Christ; or the “bounds of the earth” to have been promised 
rather to David, who reigned within the single (country of) Judea, than to Christ, who has 
already taken captive the whole orb with the faith of His gospel; as He says through Isaiah: 
“Behold, I have given Thee for a covenant of my family, for a light of Gentiles, that Thou 
mayst open the eyes of the blind” — of course, such as err — “to outloose from bonds the 
bound” — that is, to free them from sins — “and from the house of prison” — that is, of 

1 OQ1 

death — “such as sit in darkness” — of ignorance, to wit. And if these blessings accrue 

through Christ, they will not have been prophesied of another than Him through whom we 

1 ^89 

consider them to have been accomplished. 


1379 Ps. ii. 7, 8. 

1380 Dispositionem; Gr. 5ux0rjKr|v. 

1381 Isa. xlii. 6, 7, comp. lxi. 1; Luke iv. 14-18. 

1382 Comp. Luke ii. 25-33. 


354 


Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 


Chapter XIII. — Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of 
Judea. 

Therefore, since the sons of Israel affirm that we err in receiving the Christ, who is 
already come, let us put in a demurrer against them out of the Scriptures themselves, to the 
effect that the Christ who was the theme of prediction is come; albeit by the times of Daniel’s 
prediction we have proved that the Christ is come already who was the theme of announce- 
ment. Now it behoved Him to be born in Bethlehem of Judah. For thus it is written in the 
prophet: “And thou, Bethlehem, are not the least in the leaders of Judah: for out of thee shall 
issue a Leader who shall feed my People Israel.” But if hitherto he has not been born, 
what “leader” was it who was thus announced as to proceed from the tribe of Judah, out of 
Bethlehem? For it behoves him to proceed from the tribe of Judah and from Bethlehem. 
But we perceive that now none of the race of Israel has remained in Bethlehem; and (so it 
has been) ever since the interdict was issued forbidding any one of the Jews to linger in the 
confines of the very district, in order that this prophetic utterance also should be perfectly 
fulfilled: “Your land is desert, your cities burnt up by fire,” — that is, (he is foretelling) what 
will have happened to them in time of war “your region strangers shall eat up in your sight, 
and it shall be desert and subverted by alien peoples .” 1384 And in another place it is thus 
said through the prophet: “The King with His glory ye shall see,” — that is, Christ, doing 

1 ooc 

deeds of power in the glory of God the Father; “and your eyes shall see the land from 

i o o/r 

afar,” — which is what you do, being prohibited, in reward of your deserts, since the 
storming of Jerusalem, to enter into your land; it is permitted you merely to see it with your 
eyes from afar: “your soul,” he says, “shall meditate terror,” — namely, at the time when 

they suffered the ruin of themselves. How, therefore, will a “leader” be born from Judea, 
and how far will he “proceed from Bethlehem,” as the divine volumes of the prophets do 
plainly announce; since none at all is left there to this day of (the house of) Israel, of whose 
stock Christ could be born? 

Now, if (according to the Jews) He is hitherto not come, when He begins to come whence 
will He be anointed? For the Law enjoined that, in captivity, it was not lawful for the 


1383 Mic. v. 2; Matt. ii. 3-6. Tertullian’s Latin agrees rather with the Greek of St. Matthew than with the LXX. 

1384 See Isa. i. 7. 

1385 Comp. John v. 43; x. 37, 38. 

1386 Isa. xxxiii. 17. 

1387 Isa. xxxiii. 18. 

1388 Comp, the “failing eyes” in the passage from Deuteronomy given in c. xi., if “eyes” is to be taken as the 
subject here. If not, we have another instance of the slipshod writing in which this treatise abounds. 

1389 As His name “Christ” or “Messiah” implies. 


355 


Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 


unction of the royal chrism to be compounded . 1390 But, if there is no longer “unction” 
there 1391 as Daniel prophesied (for he says, “Unction shall be exterminated”), it follows that 
they no longer have it, because neither have they a temple where was the ‘horn 
from which kings were wont to be anointed. If, then, there is no unction, whence shall be 
anointed the “leader” who shall be born in Bethlehem? or how shall he proceed “from 
Bethlehem,” seeing that of the seed of Israel none at all exists in Bethlehem. 

A second time, in fact, let us show that Christ is already come, (as foretold) through the 
prophets, and has suffered, and is already received back in the heavens, and thence is to 
come accordingly as the predictions prophesied. For, after His advent, we read, according 
to Daniel, that the city itself had to be exterminated; and we recognise that so it has befallen. 
For the Scripture says thus, that “the city and the holy place are simultaneously exterminated 
together with the leader ,” 1394 — undoubtedly (that Leader) who was to proceed “from 
Bethlehem,” and from the tribe of “Judah.” Whence, again, it is manifest that “the city must 
simultaneously be exterminated” at the time when its “Leader” had to suffer in it, (as foretold) 
through the Scriptures of the prophets, who say: “I have outstretched my hands the whole 
day unto a People contumacious and gainsaying Me, who walketh in a way not good, but 
after their own sins .” 1395 And in the Psalms, David says: “They exterminated my hands and 
feet: they counted all my bones; they themselves, moreover, contemplated and saw me, and 
in my thirst slaked me with vinegar .” 1396 These things David did not suffer, so as to seem 
justly to have spoken of himself; but the Christ who was crucified. Moreover, the “hands 
and feet,” are not “exterminated,” except His who is suspended on a “tree.” Whence, 
again, David said that “the Lord would reign from the tree” for elsewhere, too, the 
prophet predicts the fruit of this “tree,” saying “The earth hath given her blessings,” 1399 — of 


1390 Comp. Ex. xxx. 22-33. 

1391 i.e., in Jerusalem or Judea. 

1392 The Jews. 

1393 Comp. 1 Kings (3 Kings in LXX.) i. 39, where the Eng. ver. has “an horn;” the LXX. to K£pa<;, “the horn;” 
which at that time, of course, was in David’s tabernacle (2 Sam. — 2 Kings in LXX. — vi. 17,) for “temple” there 
was yet none. 

1394 Dan. ix. 26. 

1395 See Isa. lxv. 2; Rom. x. 21. 

1396 Ps. xxii. 16, 17 (xxi. 17, 18, in LXX.), and lxix. 21 (lxviii. 22 in LXX.). 

1397 i.e., displaced, dislocated. 

1398 See c. x. above. 

1399 See Ps. lxvii. 6 (lxvi. 7 in LXX.), lxxxv. 12 (lxxxiv. 13 in LXX.). 


356 


Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 


course that virgin- earth, not yet irrigated with rains, nor fertilized by showers, out of which 
man was of yore first formed, out of which now Christ through the flesh has been born of 
a virgin; “and the tree ,” 1400 he says, “hath brought his fruit,” 1401 — not that “tree” in paradise 
which yielded death to the protoplasts, but the “tree” of the passion of Christ, whence life, 
hanging, was by you not believed ! 1402 For this “tree” in a mystery , 1403 it was of yore 
wherewith Moses sweetened the bitter water; whence the People, which was perishing of 
thirst in the desert, drank and revived ; 1404 just as we do, who, drawn out from the calamities 
of the heathendom 1405 in which we were tarrying perishing with thirst (that is, deprived of 
the divine word), drinking, “by the faith which is on Him ,” 1406 the baptismal water of the 
“tree” of the passion of Christ, have revived, — a faith from which Israel has fallen away, (as 
foretold) through Jeremiah, who says, “Send, and ask exceedingly whether such things have 
been done, whether nations will change their gods (and these are not gods!). But My People 
hath changed their glory: whence no profit shall accrue to them: the heaven turned pale 
thereat” (and when did it turn pale? undoubtedly when Christ suffered), “and shuddered,” 
he says, “most exceedingly ;” 1407 and “the sun grew dark at mid-day :” 1408 (and when did it 
“shudder exceedingly” except at the passion of Christ, when the earth also trembled to her 
centre, and the veil of the temple was rent, and the tombs were burst asunder ? 1409 “because 
these two evils hath My People done; Me,” He says, “they have quite forsaken, the fount of 
water of life , 1410 and they have digged for themselves worn-out tanks, which will not be 
able to contain water.” Undoubtedly, by not receiving Christ, the “fount of water of life,” 
they have begun to have “worn-out tanks,” that is, synagogues for the use of the “dispersions 
of the Gentiles ,” 1411 in which the Holy Spirit no longer lingers, as for the time past He was 
wont to tarry in the temple before the advent of Christ, who is the true temple of God. For, 


1400 “Lignum,” as before. 

1401 See Joel ii. 22. 

1402 See c. xi. above, and the note there. 

1403 Sacramento. 

1404 See Ex. xv. 22-26. 

1405 Saeculi. 

1406 See Acts xxvi. 18, ad fin. 

1407 Seejer.ii. 10-12. 

1408 See Amos viii. 9, as before, in c.x. 

1409 See Matt, xxvii. 45, 50-52; Mark xv. 33, 37, 38, Luke xxiii. 44, 45. 

1410 u5aro<; (jtofjc; in the LXX. here (ed. Tischendorf, who quotes the Cod. Alex, as reading, however, uSaroq 
(jcovtoq). Comp. Rev. xxii. 1, 17, and xxi. 6; John vii. 37-39. (The reference, it will be seen, is still to Jer. ii. 10-13; 
but the writer has mixed up words of Amos therewith.) 

1411 Comp. The rqv Staaropav rtbv 'EAArjvwv of John vii. 35; and see 1 Pet. i. 1. 


357 


Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 


that they should withal suffer this thirst of the Divine Spirit, the prophet Isaiah had said, 
saying: “Behold, they who serve Me shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; they who serve Me 
shall drink, but ye shall thirst, and from general tribulation of spirit shall howl: for ye shall 
transmit your name for a satiety to Mine elect, but you the Lord shall slay; but for them who 
serve Me shall be named a new name, which shall be blessed in the lands .” 1412 

Again, the mystery of this “tree ” 1413 we read as being celebrated even in the Books of 
the Reigns. For when the sons of the prophets were cutting “wood ” 1414 with axes on the 
bank of the river Jordan, the iron flew off and sank in the stream; and so, on Elisha 1415 the 
prophet’s coming up, the sons of the prophets beg of him to extract from the stream the 
iron which had sunk. And accordingly Elisha, having taken “wood,” and cast it into that 
place where the iron had been submerged, forthwith it rose and swam on the surface , 1416 
and the “wood” sank, which the sons of the prophets recovered . 1417 Whence they understood 
that Elijah’s spirit was presently conferred upon him . 1418 What is more manifest than the 
mystery 1419 of this “wood,” — that the obduracy of this world 1420 had been sunk in the 
profundity of error, and is freed in baptism by the “wood” of Christ, that is, of His passion; 
in order that what had formerly perished through the “tree” in Adam, should be restored 
through the “tree” in Christ ? 1421 while we, of course, who have succeeded to, and occupy, 
the room of the prophets, at the present day sustain in the world 1422 that treatment which 
the prophets always suffered on account of divine religion: for some they stoned, some they 
banished; more, however, they delivered to mortal slaughter, 1423 — a fact which they cannot 
deny . 1424 


1412 See Isa. lxv. 13-16 in LXX. 

1413 Hujus ligni sacramentum. 

1414 Lignum. 

1415 Helisaeo. Comp. Luke iv. 27. 

1416 The careless construction of leaving the nominative “Elisha” with no verb to follow it is due to the ori- 
ginal, not to the translator. 

1417 See 2 Kings vi. 1-7 (4 Kings vi. 1-7 in LXX). It is not said, however, that the wood sank. 

1418 This conclusion they had drawn before, and are not said to have drawn, consequently, upon this occasion. 
See 2 Kings (4 Kings in LXX.) ii. 16. 

1419 Sacramento. 

1420 “Saeculi,” or perhaps here “heathendom.” 

1421 For a similar argument, see Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo? 1. i. c. iii. sub fin. 

1422 Saeculo. 

1423 Mortis necem. 

1424 Comp. Acts vii. 51, 52; Heb. xi. 32-38. 


358 


Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 


This “wood,” again, Isaac the son of Abraham personally carried for his own sacrifice, 
when God had enjoined that he should be made a victim to Himself. But, because these had 
been mysteries 1425 which were being kept for perfect fulfilment in the times of Christ, Isaac, 
on the one hand, with his “wood,” was reserved, the ram being offered which was caught 
by the horns in the bramble ; 1426 Christ, on the other hand, in His times, carried His “wood” 
on His own shoulders, adhering to the horns of the cross, with a thorny crown encircling 
His head. For Him it behoved to be made a sacrifice on behalf of all Gentiles, who “was led 
as a sheep for a victim, and, like a lamb voiceless before his shearer, so opened not His 
mouth” (for He, when Pilate interrogated Him, spake nothing 1427 ); for “in humility His 
judgment was taken away: His nativity, moreover, who shall declare?” Because no one at 
all of human beings was conscious of the nativity of Christ at His conception, when as the 
Virgin Mary was found pregnant by the word of God; and because “His life was to be taken 
from the land .” 1428 Why, accordingly, after His resurrection from the dead, which was ef- 
fected on the third day, did the heavens receive Him back? It was in accordance with a 
prophecy of Hosea, uttered on this wise: “Before daybreak shall they arise unto Me, saying, 
Let us go and return unto the Lord our God, because Himself will draw us out and free us. 
After a space of two days, on the third day” 1429 — which is His glorious resurrection — He 
received back into the heavens (whence withal the Spirit Himself had come to the Virgin 1430 ) 
Him whose nativity and passion alike the Jews have failed to acknowledge. Therefore, since 
the Jews still contend that the Christ is not yet come, whom we have in so many ways ap- 
proved 1431 to be come, let the Jews recognise their own fate, — a fate which they were con- 
stantly foretold as destined to incur after the advent of the Christ, on account of the impiety 
with which they despised and slew Him. For first, from the day when, according to the 
saying of Isaiah, “a man cast forth his abominations of gold and silver, which they made to 
adore with vain and hurtful (rites),” 1432 — that is, ever since we Gentiles, with our breast 
doubly enlightened through Christ’s truth, cast forth (let the Jews see it) our idols, — what 
follows has likewise been fulfilled. For “the Lord of Sabaoth hath taken away, among the 
Jews from Jerusalem,” among the other things named, “the wise architect” too , 1433 who 


1425 Sacramenta. 

1426 See Gen. xxii. 1-14. 

1427 See Matt, xxvii. 11-14; Markxv. 1-5; Johnxix. 8-12. 

1428 See Isa. liii. 7, 8. 

1429 Oehler refers to Hos. vi. 1; add 2 (ad init.). 

1430 See Luke i. 35. 

1431 For this sense of the word “approve,” comp. Acts ii. 22, Greek and English, and Phil. i. 10, Greek and 
English. 

1432 See Isa. ii. 20. 

1433 See Isa. iii. 1, 3; and comp. 1 Cor. iii. 10; Eph. ii. 20, 21; 1 Pet. ii. 4-8, and many similar passages. 


359 


Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 


builds the church, God’s temple, and the holy city, and the house of the Lord. For thenceforth 
God’s grace desisted (from working) among them. And “the clouds were commanded not 
to rain a shower upon the vineyard of Sorek,” 1434 — the clouds being celestial benefits, which 
were commanded not to be forthcoming to the house of Israel; for it “had borne 
thorns” — whereof that house of Israel had wrought a crown for Christ — and not “righteous- 
ness, but a clamour ,” — the clamour whereby it had extorted His surrender to the cross . 1435 
And thus, the former gifts of grace being withdrawn, “the law and the prophets were until 
John ,” 1436 and the fishpool of Bethsaida 1437 until the advent of Christ: thereafter it ceased 
curatively to remove from Israel infirmities of health; since, as the result of their perseverance 
in their frenzy, the name of the Lord was through them blasphemed, as it is written: “On 
your account the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles :” 1438 for it is from them 
that the infamy (attached to that name) began, and (was propagated during) the interval 
from Tiberius to Vespasian. And because they had committed these crimes, and had failed 
to understand that Christ “was to be found ” 1439 in “the time of their visitation ,” 1440 their 
land has been made “desert, and their cities utterly burnt with fire, while strangers devour 
their region in their sight: the daughter of Sion is derelict, as a watch-tower in a vineyard, 
or as a shed in a cucumber garden,” — ever since the time, to wit, when “Israel knew not” 
the Lord, and “the People understood Him not;” but rather “quite forsook, and provoked 
unto indignation, the Holy One of Israel .” 1441 So, again, we find a conditional threat of the 
sword: “If ye shall have been unwilling, and shall not have been obedient, the glaive shall 
eat you up .” 1442 Whence we prove that the sword was Christ, by not hearing whom they 
perished; who, again, in the Psalm, demands of the Father their dispersion, saying, “Disperse 
them in Thy power ;” 1443 who, withal, again through Isaiah prays for their utter burning. 
“On My account,” He says, “have these things happened to you; in anxiety shall ye sleep .” 1444 


1434 Comp. Isa. v. 2 in LXX. and Lowth. 

1435 Comp. Isa. v. 6, 7, with Matt, xxvii. 20-25, Mark xv. 8-15, Luke xxiii. 13-25, John xix. 12-16. 

1436 Matt. xi. 13; Luke xvi. 16. 

1437 See John v. 1-9; and comp, de Bapt. c. v., and the note there. 

1438 See Isa. lii. 5; Ezek. xxxvi. 20, 23; Rom. ii. 24. (The passage in Isaiah in the LXX. agrees with Rom. ii. 24.) 

1439 See Isa. lv. 6, 7. 

1440 See Luke xix. 41-44. 

1441 See Isa. i. 7, 8, 4. 

1442 Isa. i. 20. 

1443 See Ps. lix. 11 (lviii. 12 in LXX.) 

1444 See Isa. 1. 11 in LXX. 


360 


Argument from the Destruction of Jerusalem and Desolation of Judea. 


Since, therefore, the Jews were predicted as destined to suffer these calamities on Christ’s 
account, and we find that they have suffered them, and see them sent into dispersion and 
abiding in it, manifest it is that it is on Christ’s account that these things have befallen the 
Jews, the sense of the Scriptures harmonizing with the issue of events and of the order of 
the times. Or else, if Christ is not yet come, on whose account they were predicted as destined 
thus to suffer, when He shall have come it follows that they will thus suffer. And where will 
then be a daughter of Sion to be derelict, who now has no existence? where the cities to be 
exust, which are already exust and in heaps? where the dispersion of a race which is now in 
exile? Restore to Judea the condition which Christ is to find; and (then, if you will), contend 
that some other (Christ) is coming. 


361 



Conclusion. Clue to the Error of the Jews. 


Chapter XIV. — Conclusion. Clue to the Error of the Jews. 

Learn now (over and above the immediate question) the clue to your error. We affirm, 
two characters of the Christ demonstrated by the prophets, and as many advents of His 
forenoted: one, in humility (of course the first), when He has to be led “as a sheep for a 
victim; and, as a lamb voiceless before the shearer, so He opened not His mouth,” not even 
in His aspect comely. For “we have announced,” says the prophet, “concerning Him, (He 
is) as a little child, as a root in a thirsty land; and there was not in Him attractiveness or 
glory. And we saw Him, and He had not attractiveness or grace; but His mien was unhon- 
oured, deficient in comparison of the sons of men ,” 1445 “a man set in the plague , 1446 and 
knowing how to bear infirmity:” to wit as having been set by the Father “for a stone of of- 
fence ,” 1447 and “made a little lower” by Him “than angels ,” 1448 He pronounces Himself “a 
worm, and not a man, an ignominy of man, and the refuse of the People .” 1449 Which evid- 
ences of ignobility suit the First Advent, just as those of sublimity do the Second; when He 
shall be made no longer “a stone of offence nor a rock of scandal,” but “the highest corner- 
stone ,” 1450 after reprobation (on earth) taken up (into heaven) and raised sublime for the 
purpose of consummation , 1451 and that “rock” — so we must admit — which is read of in 
Daniel as forecut from a mount, which shall crush and crumble the image of secular king- 
doms . 1452 Of which second advent of the same (Christ) Daniel has said: “And, behold, as 
it were a Son of man, coming with the clouds of the heaven, came unto the Ancient of days, 
and was present in His sight; and they who were standing by led (Him) unto Him. And 
there was given Him royal power; and all nations of the earth, according to their race, and 
all glory, shall serve Him: and His power is eternal, which shall not be taken away, and His 
kingdom one which shall not be corrupted .” 1453 Then, assuredly, is He to have an honourable 
mien, and a grace not “deficient more than the sons of men;” for (He will then be) “blooming 
in beauty in comparison with the sons of men .” 1454 “Grace,” says the Psalmist, “hath been 
outpoured in Thy lips: wherefore God hath blessed Thee unto eternity. Gird Thee Thy sword 


1445 See Isa. liii. 2 in LXX. 

1446 See Ps. xxxviii. 17 in the “Great Bible” (xxxvii. 18 in LXX.). Also Isa. liii. 3 in LXX. 

1447 See Isa. viii. 14 (where, however, the LXX. rendering is widely different) with Rom. ix. 32, 33; Ps. cxviii. 
22 (cxvii. 22 in LXX.); 1 Pet. ii. 4. 

1448 See Ps. viii. 5 (viii. 6 in LXX.) with Heb. ii. 5-9. 

1449 See Ps. xxii. 6 (xxi. 7 in LXX., the Alex. ms. of which here agrees well with Tertullian). 

1450 See reference 3 above, with Isa. xxviii. 16. 

1451 Comp. Eph. i. 10. 

1452 Or, “worldly kingdoms.” See Dan. ii. 34, 35, 44, 45. 

1453 See Dan. vii. 13, 14. 

1454 See c. ix. med. 


362 


Conclusion. Clue to the Error of the Jews. 


around Thy thigh, most potent in Thy bloom and beauty !” 1455 while the Father withal after- 
wards, after making Him somewhat lower than angels, “crowned Him with glory and honour 
and subjected all things beneath His feet .” 1456 And then shall they “learn to know Him 
whom they pierced, and shall beat their breasts tribe by tribe ;” 1457 of course because in days 
bygone they did not know Him when conditioned in the humility of human estate. Jeremiah 
says: “He is a human being, and who will learn to know Him ?” 1458 because, “His nativity,” 
says Isaiah, “who shall declare?” So, too, in Zechariah, in His own person, nay, in the very 
mystery 1459 of His name withal, the most true Priest of the Father, His own 1460 Christ, is 
delineated in a twofold garb with reference to the two advents . 1461 First, He was clad in 
“sordid attire,” that is, in the indignity of passible and mortal flesh, when the devil, withal, 
was opposing himself to Him — the instigator, to wit, of Judas the traitor 1462 — who even 
after His baptism had tempted Him. In the next place, He was stripped of His former sordid 
raiment, and adorned with a garment down to the foot, and with a turban and a clean mitre, 
that is, (with the garb) of the second advent; since He is demonstrated as having attained 
“glory and honour.” Nor will you be able to say that the man (there depicted) is “the son of 
Jozadak ,” 1463 who was never at all clad in a sordid garment, but was always adorned with 
the sacerdotal garment, nor ever deprived of the sacerdotal function. But the “Jesus ” 1464 
there alluded to is Christ, the Priest of God the most high Father; who at His first advent 
came in humility, in human form, and passible, even up to the period of His passion; being 
Himself likewise made, through all (stages of suffering) a victim for us all; who after His 
resurrection was “clad with a garment down to the foot ,” 1465 and named the Priest of God 


1455 See c. ix. med. 

1456 See Ps. viii. 5, 6 (6, 7 in LXX.); Heb. ii. 6^9. 

1457 See Zech. xii. 10, 12 (where the LXX., as we have it, differs widely from our Eng. ver. in ver. 10); Rev. i. 

7. 

1458 See Jer. xvii. 9 in LXX. 

1459 Sacramento. 

1460 The reading which Oehler follows, and which seems to have the best authority, is “verissimus sacerdos 
Patris, Christus Ipsius,” as in the text. But Rig., whose judgment is generally very sound, prefers, with some 
others, to read, “verus summus sacerdos Patris Christus Jesus;” which agrees better with the previous allusion 
to “the mystery of His name withal:” comp. c. ix. above, towards the end. 

1461 See Zech. iii. “The mystery of His name” refers to the meaning of “Jeshua,” for which see c. ix. above. 

1462 Comp. John vi. 70 and xiii. 2 (especially in Greek, where the word 5ta(3oAo<; is used in each case). 

1463 Or “Josedech,” as Tertullian here writes, and as we find in Hag. i. 1, 12; ii. 2, 4; Zech. vi. 11, and in the 
LXX. 

1464 Or, “Jeshua.” 

1465 See Rev. i. 13. 


363 


Conclusion. Clue to the Error of the Jews. 


the Father unto eternity . 1466 So, again, I will make an interpretation of the two goats which 
were habitually offered on the fast-day . 1467 Do not they, too, point to each successive stage 
in the character of the Christ who is already come? A pair, on the one hand, and consimilar 
(they were), because of the identity of the Lord’s general appearance, inasmuch as He is not 
to come in some other form, seeing that He has to be recognised by those by whom He was 
once hurt. But the one of them, begirt with scarlet, amid cursing and universal spitting, and 
tearing, and piercing, was cast away by the People outside the city into perdition, marked 
with manifest tokens of Christ’s passion; who, after being begirt with scarlet garment, and 
subjected to universal spitting, and afflicted with all contumelies, was crucified outside the 
city . 1468 The other, however, offered for sins, and given as food to the priests merely of the 
temple , 1469 gave signal evidences of the second appearance; in so far as, after the expiation 
of all sins, the priests of the spiritual temple, that is, of the church, were to enjoy 1470 a spir- 
itual public distribution (as it were) of the Lord’s grace, while all others are fasting from 
salvation. 

Therefore, since the vaticinations of the first advent obscured it with manifold figures, 
and debased it with every dishonour, while the second (was foretold as) manifest and wholly 
worthy of God, it has resulted therefrom, that, by fixing their gaze on that one alone which 
they could easily understand and believe (that is, the second, which is in honour and glory), 
they have been (not undeservedly) deceived as to the more obscure — at all events, the more 
unworthy — that is, the first. And thus to the present moment they affirm that their Christ 
is not come, because He is not come in majesty; while they are ignorant of 1471 the fact that 
He was first to come in humility. 

Enough it is, meantime, to have thus far followed the stream downward of the order of 
Christ’s course, whereby He is proved such as He was habitually announced: in order that, 
as a result of this harmony of the Divine Scriptures, we may understand; and that the events 
which used to be predicted as destined to take place after Christ may be believed to have 
been accomplished as the result of a divine arrangement. For unless He come after whom 
they had to be accomplished, by no means would the events, the future occurrence whereof 
was predictively assigned to His advent, have come to pass. Therefore, if you see universal 
nations thenceforth emerging from the profundity of human error to God the Creator and 


1466 See Ps. cx. (cix. in LXX.) 4; Heb. v. 5-10. 

1467 See Lev. xvi. 

1468 Comp. Heb. xiii. 10-13. It is to be noted, however, that all this spitting, etc., formed no part of the divinely 
ordained ceremony. 

1469 This appears to be an error. See Lev. vi. 30. 

1470 Unless Oehler’s “fruerentur” is an error for “fruentur” ="will enjoy.” 

1471 Or, “ignore.” 


364 


Conclusion. Clue to the Error of the Jews. 


His Christ (which you dare not assert to have not been prophesied, because, albeit you were 
so to assert, there would forthwith — as we have already premised 1472 — occur to you the 
promise of the Father saying, “My Son art Thou; I this day have begotten Thee; ask of Me, 
and I will give Thee Gentiles as Thine heritage, and as Thy possession the boundaries of the 
earth.” Nor will you be able to vindicate, as the subject of that prediction, rather the son of 
David, Solomon, than Christ, God’s Son; nor “the boundaries of the earth,” as promised 
rather to David’s son, who reigned within the single land of Judea, than to Christ the Son 
of God, who has already illumined the whole world 1473 with the rays of His gospel. In short, 
again, a throne “unto the age ” 1474 is more suitable to Christ, God’s Son, than to Solomon, — a 
temporal king, to wit, who reigned over Israel alone. For at the present day nations are in- 
voking Christ which used not to know Him; and peoples at the present day are fleeing in a 
body to the Christ of whom in days bygone they were ignorant 1475 ), you cannot contend 
that is future which you see taking place . 1476 Either deny that these events were prophesied, 
while they are seen before your eyes; or else have been fulfilled, while you hear them read: 
or, on the other hand, if you fail to deny each position, they will have their fulfilment in 
Him with respect to whom they were prophesied. 


1472 See cc. xi. xii. above. 

1473 Orbem. 

1474 Or, “unto eternity.” Comp. 2 Sam. (2 Kings in LXX.) vii. 13; 1 Chron. xvii. 12; Ps. lxxxix. 3, 4, 29, 35, 36, 
37 (in LXX. Ps. lxxxviii. 4, 5, 30, 36, 37, 38). 

1475 See Isa. lv. 5 (especially in the LXX). 

1476 Oehler’s pointing is discarded. The whole passage, from “which you dare not assert” down to “ignorant,” 
appears to be parenthetical; and I have therefore marked it as such. 


365 


The Soul's Testimony. 


VIII. 

The Soul’s Testimony . 1477 

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.] 


Chapter I. 

If, with the object of convicting the rivals and persecutors of Christian truth, from their 
own authorities, of the crime of at once being untrue to themselves and doing injustice to 
us, one is bent on gathering testimonies in its favour from the writings of the philosophers, 
or the poets, or other masters of this world’s learning and wisdom, he has need of a most 
inquisitive spirit, and a still greater memory to carry out the research. Indeed, some of our 
people, who still continued their inquisitive labours in ancient literature, and still occupied 
memory with it, have published works we have in our hands of this very sort; works in which 
they relate and attest the nature and origin of their traditions, and the grounds on which 
opinions rest, and from which it may be seen at once that we have embraced nothing new 
or monstrous — nothing for which we cannot claim the support of ordinary and well-known 
writings, whether in ejecting error from our creed, or admitting truth into it. But the unbe- 
lieving hardness of the human heart leads them to slight even their own teachers, otherwise 
approved and in high renown, whenever they touch upon arguments which are used in de- 
fence of Christianity. Then the poets are fools, when they describe the gods with human 
passions and stories; then the philosophers are without reason, when they knock at the gates 
of truth. He will thus far be reckoned a wise and sagacious man who has gone the length 
of uttering sentiments that are almost Christian; while if, in a mere affectation of judgment 
and wisdom, he sets himself to reject their ceremonies, or to convicting the world of its sin, 
he is sure to be branded as a Christian. We will have nothing, then, to do with the literature 
and the teaching, perverted in its best results, which is believed in its errors rather than its 
truth. We shall lay no stress on it, if some of their authors have declared that there is one 
God, and one God only. Nay, let it be granted that there is nothing in heathen writers which 


1477 [The tract De Testimonio Animas is cast into an apologetic form and very properly comes into place 
here. It was written in Orthodoxy and forms a valuable preface to the De Anima, of which we cannot say that 
it is quite free from errors. As it refers to the Apology, we cannot place it before that work, and perhaps we shall 
not greatly err if we consider it a sequel to the Apology. If it proves to others the source of as much enjoyment 
as it affords to me, it will be treasured by them as one of the most precious testimonies to the Gospel, introducing 
Man to himself.] 


366 



Chapter I. 


a Christian approves, that it maybe put out of his power to utter a single word of reproach. 
For all are not familiar with their teachings; and those who are, have no assurance in regard 
to their truth. Far less do men assent to our writings, to which no one comes for guidance 
unless he is already a Christian. I call in a new testimony, yea, one which is better known 
than all literature, more discussed than all doctrine, more public than all publications, 
greater than the whole man — I mean all which is man’s. Stand forth, O soul, whether thou 
art a divine and eternal substance, as most philosophers believe if it be so, thou wilt be the 
less likely to lie, — or whether thou art the very opposite of divine, because indeed a mortal 
thing, as Epicurus alone thinks — in that case there will be the less temptation for thee to 
speak falsely in this case: whether thou art received from heaven, or sprung from earth; 
whether thou art formed of numbers, or of atoms; whether thine existence begins with that 
of the body, or thou art put into it at a later stage; from whatever source, and in whatever 
way, thou makest man a rational being, in the highest degree capable of thought and 
knowledge, — stand forth and give thy witness. But I call thee not as when, fashioned in 
schools, trained in libraries, fed in Attic academies and porticoes, thou belchest wisdom. I 
address thee simple, rude, uncultured and untaught, such as they have thee who have thee 
only; that very thing of the road, the street, the work-shop, wholly. I want thine inexperience, 
since in thy small experience no one feels any confidence. I demand of thee the things thou 
bringest with thee into man, which thou knowest either from thyself, or from thine author, 
whoever he maybe. Thou art not, as I well know, Christian; for a man becomes a Christian, 
he is not born one. Yet Christians earnestly press thee for a testimony; they press thee, 
though an alien, to bear witness against thy friends, that they may be put to shame before 
thee, for hating and mocking us on account of things which convict thee as an accessory. 


367 



Chapter II. 


Chapter II. 

We give offence by proclaiming that there is one God, to whom the name of God alone 
belongs, from whom all things come, and who is Lord of the whole universe . 1478 Bear thy 
testimony, if thou knowest this to be the truth; for openly and with a perfect liberty, such 
as we do not possess, we hear thee both in private and in public exclaim, “Which may God 
grant,” and, “If God so will.” By expressions such as these thou declarest that there is one 
who is distinctively God, and thou confessest that all power belongs to him to whose will, 
as Sovereign, thou dost look. At the same time, too, thou deniest any others to be truly gods, 
in calling them by their own names of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Minerva; for thou affirmest 
Him to be God alone to whom thou givest no other name than God; and though thou 
sometimes callest these others gods, thou plainly usest the designation as one which does 
not really belong to them, but is, so to speak, a borrowed one. Nor is the nature of the God 
we declare unknown to thee: “God is good, God does good,” thou art wont to say; plainly 
suggesting further, “But man is evil.” In asserting an antithetic proposition, thou, in a sort 
of indirect and figurative way, reproachest man with his wickedness in departing from a 
God so good. So, again, as among us, as belonging to the God of benignity and goodness, 
“Blessing” is a most sacred act in our religion and our life, thou too sayest as readily as a 
Christian needs, “God bless thee;” and when thou turnest the blessing of God into a curse, 
in like manner thy very words confess with us that His power over us is absolute and entire. 
There are some who, though they do not deny the existence of God, hold withal that He is 
neither Searcher, nor Ruler, nor Judge; treating with especial disdain those of us who go 
over to Christ out of fear of a coming judgment, as they think, honouring God in freeing 
Him from the cares of keeping watch, and the trouble of taking note, — not even regarding 
Him as capable of anger. For if God, they say, gets angry, then He is susceptible of corruption 
and passion; but that of which passion and corruption can be affirmed may also perish, 
which God cannot do. But these very persons elsewhere, confessing that the soul is divine, 
and bestowed on us by God, stumble against a testimony of the soul itself, which affords an 
answer to these views. For if either divine or God-given, it doubtless knows its giver; and if 
it knows Him, it undoubtedly fears Him too, and especially as having been by Him endowed 
so amply. Has it no fear of Him whose favour it is so desirous to possess, and whose anger 
it is so anxious to avoid? Whence, then, the soul’s natural fear of God, if God cannot be 
angry? How is there any dread of Him whom nothing offends? What is feared but anger? 
Whence comes anger, but from observing what is done? What leads to watchful oversight, 
but judgment in prospect? Whence is judgment, but from power? To whom does supreme 
authority and power belong, but to God alone? So thou art always ready, O soul, from thine 


1478 [The student of Plato will recall such evidence, readily. See The Laws, in Jowett’s Translation, vol. iv. p. 
416. Also Elucidation I.] 


368 



Chapter II. 


own knowledge, nobody casting scorn upon thee, and no one preventing, to exclaim, “God 
sees all,” and “I commend thee to God,” and “May God repay,” and “God shall j udge between 
us.” How happens this, since thou art not Christian? How is it that, even with the garland 
of Ceres on the brow, wrapped in the purple cloak of Saturn, wearing the white robe of the 
goddess Isis, thou invokest God as judge? Standing under the statue of/Esculapius, adorning 
the brazen image of Juno, arraying the helmet of Minerva with dusky figures, thou never 
thinkest of appealing to any of these deities. In thine own forum thou appealest to a God 
who is elsewhere; thou permittest honour to be rendered in thy temples to a foreign god. 
Oh, striking testimony to truth, which in the very midst of demons obtains a witness for us 
Christians! 


369 



Chapter III. 


Chapter III. 

But when we say that there are demons — as though, in the simple fact that we alone 
expel them from the men’s bodies , 1479 we did not also prove their existence — some disciple 
of Chrysippus begins to curl the lip. Yet thy curses sufficiently attest that there are such be- 
ings, and that they are objects of thy strong dislike . 1480 As what comes to thee as a fit expres- 
sion of thy strong hatred of him, thou callest the man a daemon who annoys thee with his 
filthiness, or malice, or insolence, or any other vice which we ascribe to evil spirits. In ex- 
pressing vexation, contempt, or abhorrence, thou hast Satan constantly upon thy lips ; 1481 
the very same we hold to be the angel of evil, the source of error, the corrupter of the whole 
world, by whom in the beginning man was entrapped into breaking the commandment of 
God. And (the man) being given over to death on account of his sin, the entire human race, 
tainted in their descent from him, were made a channel for transmitting his condemnation. 
Thou seest, then, thy destroyer; and though he is fully known only to Christians, or to 
whatever sect 1482 confesses the Lord, yet, even thou hast some acquaintance with him while 
yet thou abhorrest him! 


1479 [The existence of demoniacal possessions in heathen countries is said to be probable, even in our days. 
The Fathers unanimously assert the effectual exorcisms of their days.] 

1480 [e.g. Horace, Epodes, Ode V.] 

1481 [ Satanan , in omni vexatione... pronuntias. Does he mean that they used this word ? Rather, he means 
the demon is none other than Satan.] 

1482 [I have been obliged, somewhat, to simplify the translation here.] 


370 



Chapter IV. 


Chapter IV. 

Even now, as the matter refers to thy opinion on a point the more closely belonging to 
thee, in so far as it bears on thy personal well-being, we maintain that after life has passed 
away thou still remainest in existence, and lookest forward to a day of judgment, and accord- 
ing to thy deserts art assigned to misery or bliss, in either way of it for ever; that, to be capable 
of this, thy former substance must needs return to thee, the matter and the memory of the 
very same human being: for neither good nor evil couldst thou feel if thou wert not endowed 
again with that sensitive bodily organization, and there would be no grounds for judgment 
without the presentation of the very person to whom the sufferings of judgment were due. 
That Christian view, though much nobler than the Pythagorean, as it does not transfer thee 
into beasts; though more complete than the Platonic, since it endows thee again with a body; 
though more worthy of honour than the Epicurean, as it preserves thee from annihila- 
tion, — yet, because of the name connected with it, it is held to be nothing but vanity and 
folly, and, as it is called, a mere presumption. But we are not ashamed of ourselves if our 
presumption is found to have thy support. Well, in the first place, when thou speakest of 
one who is dead, thou sayest of him, “Poor man” — poor, surely, not because he has been 
taken from the good of life, but because he has been given over to punishment and condem- 
nation. But at another time thou speakest of the dead as free from trouble; thou professest 
to think life a burden, and death a blessing. Thou art wont, too, to speak of the dead as in 
repose , 1483 when, returning to their graves beyond the city gates 1484 with food and dainties, 
thou art wont to present offerings to thyself rather than to them; or when, coming from the 
graves again, thou art staggering under the effects of wine. But I want thy sober opinion. 
Thou callest the dead poor when thou speakest thine own thoughts, when thou art at a dis- 
tance from them. For at their feast, where in a sense they are present and recline along with 
thee, it would never do to cast reproach upon their lot. Thou canst not but adulate those 
for whose sake thou art feasting it so sumptuously. Dost thou then speak of him as poor 
who feels not? How happens it that thou cursest, as one capable of suffering from thy curse, 
the man whose memory comes back on thee with the sting in it of some old injury? It is 
thine imprecation that “the earth may lie heavy on him,” and that there may be trouble “to 
his ashes in the realm of the dead.” In like manner, in thy kindly feeling to him to whom 


1483 [This whole passage is useful as a commentary on classic authors who use these poetical expressions. 
Ccelo Musa beat (Hor. Ode viii. B. 4.) but the real feeling comes out in such expressions as one finds in Horace’s 
odes to Sextius, (B. i. Ode 4.), or to Postumus, B. ii. Od. 14.] 

1484 [The tombs, by the roadside, of which the traveller still sees specimens, used to be scenes of debauchery 
when the dead were honoured in this way. Now, the funeral honours (See De Corona, cap. iii.) which Christians 
substituted for these were Eucharistic alms and oblations: thanking God for their holy lives and perpetuating 
relations with them in the Communion of Saints.] 


371 



Chapter IV. 


thou art indebted for favours, thou entreatest “repose to his bones and ashes,” and thy desire 
is that among the dead he may “have pleasant rest.” If thou hast no power of suffering after 
death, if no feeling remains, — if, in a word, severance from the body is the annihilation of 
thee, what makes thee lie against thyself, as if thou couldst suffer in another state? Nay, why 
dost thou fear death at all? There is nothing after death to be feared, if there is nothing to 
be felt. For though it may be said that death is dreadful not for anything it threatens after- 
wards, but because it deprives us of the good of life; yet, on the other hand, as it puts an end 
to life’s discomforts, which are far more numerous, death’s terrors are mitigated by a gain 
that more than outweighs the loss. And there is no occasion to be troubled about a loss of 
good things, which is amply made up for by so great a blessing as relief from every trouble. 
There is nothing dreadful in that which delivers from all that is to be dreaded. If thou 
shrinkest from giving up life because thy experience of it has been sweet, at any rate there 
is no need to be in any alarm about death if thou hast no knowledge that it is evil. Thy dread 
of it is the proof that thou art aware of its evil. Thou wouldst never think it evil — thou 
wouldst have no fear of it at all — if thou wert not sure that after it there is something to 
make it evil, and so a thing of terror . 1485 Let us leave unnoted at this time that natural way 
of fearing death. It is a poor thing for any one to fear what is inevitable. I take up the other 
side, and argue on the ground of a joyful hope beyond our term of earthly life; for desire of 
posthumous fame is with almost every class an inborn thing . 1486 I have not time to speak 
of the Curtii, and the Reguli, or the brave men of Greece, who afford us innumerable cases 
of death despised for after renown. Who at this day is without the desire that he maybe often 
remembered when he is dead? Who does not give all endeavour to preserve his name by 
works of literature, or by the simple glory of his virtues, or by the splendour even of his 
tomb? How is it the nature of the soul to have these posthumous ambitions and with such 
amazing effort to prepare the things it can only use after decease? It would care nothing 
about the future, if the future were quite unknown to it. But perhaps thou thinkest thyself 
surer, after thy exit from the body, of continuing still to feel, than of any future resurrection, 
which is a doctrine laid at our door as one of our presumptuous suppositions. But it is also 
the doctrine of the soul; for if any one inquires about a person lately dead as though he were 
alive, it occurs at once to say, “He has gone.” He is expected to return, then. 


1485 [Butler, Analogy, Part I. chap, i.] 

1486 [Horace, Book III. Ode 30.] 


372 



Chapter V. 


Chapter V. 

These testimonies of the soul are simple as true, commonplace as simple, universal as 
commonplace, natural as universal, divine as natural. I don’t think they can appear frivolous 
or feeble to any one, if he reflect on the majesty of nature, from which the soul derives its 
authority . 1487 If you acknowledge the authority of the mistress, you will own it also in the 
disciple. Well, nature is the mistress here, and her disciple is the soul. But everything the 
one has taught or the other learned, has come from God — the Teacher of the teacher. And 
what the soul may know from the teachings of its chief instructor, thou canst judge from 
that which is within thee. Think of that which enables thee to think; reflect on that which 
in forebodings is the prophet, the augur in omens, the foreseer of coming events. Is it a 
wonderful thing, if, being the gift of God to man, it knows how to divine? Is it anything very 
strange, if it knows the God by whom it was bestowed? Even fallen as it is, the victim of the 
great adversary’s machinations, it does not forget its Creator, His goodness and law, and 
the final end both of itself and of its foe. Is it singular then, if, divine in its origin, its revela- 
tions agree with the knowledge God has given to His own people? But he who does not regard 
those outbursts of the soul as the teaching of a congenital nature and the secret deposit of 
an inborn knowledge, will say that the habit and, so to say, the vice of speaking in this way 
has been acquired and confirmed from the opinions of published books widely spread among 
men. Unquestionably the soul existed before letters, and speech before books, and ideas 
before the writing of them, and man himself before the poet and philosopher. Is it then 

to be believed, that before literature and its publication no utterances of the sort we have 
pointed out came from the lips of men? Did nobody speak of God and His goodness, nobody 
of death, nobody of the dead? Speech went a-begging, I suppose; nay, (the subjects being 
still awanting, without which it cannot even exist at this day, when it is so much more copious, 
and rich, and wise), it could not exist at all if the things which are now so easily suggested, 
that cling to us so constantly, that are so very near to us, that are somehow born on our very 
lips, had no existence in ancient times, before letters had any existence in the world — before 
there was a Mercury, I think, at all. And whence was it, I pray, that letters themselves came 
to know, and to disseminate for the use of speech, what no mind had ever conceived, or 
tongue put forth, or ear taken in? But, clearly, since the Scriptures of God, whether belonging 
to Christians or to Jews, into whose olive tree we have been grafted — are much more ancient 
than any secular literature, (or, let us only say, are of a somewhat earlier date, as we have 


1487 [This appeal to the universal conscience and consciousness of mankind is unanswerable, and assures 
us that counter-theories will never prevail. See Bossuet, De la Connoisance de Dieu et de Soi-meme. CEuvres, 
Tom. V. pp. 86 et. seqq. Ed. Paris, 1846.] 

1488 [Compare the heathen ideas in Plato: e.g. the story Socrates tells in the Gorgias, (near the close) about 
death and Judgment.] 


373 



Chapter V. 


shown in its proper place when proving their trustworthiness); if the soul have taken these 
utterances from writings at all, we must believe it has taken them from ours, and not from 
yours, its instruction coming more naturally from the earlier than the later works. Which 
latter indeed waited for their own instruction from the former, and though we grant that 
light has come from you, still it has flowed from the first fountainhead originally; and we 
claim as entirely ours, all you may have taken from us and handed down. Since it is thus, it 
matters little whether the soul’s knowledge was put into it by God or by His book. Why, 
then, O man, wilt thou maintain a view so groundless, as that those testimonies of the soul 
have gone forth from the mere human speculations of your literature, and got hardening 
of common use? 


374 



Chapter VI. 


Chapter VI. 

Believe, then, your own books, and as to our Scriptures so much the more believe writings 
which are divine, but in the witness of the soul itself give like confidence to Nature. Choose 
the one of these you observe to be the most faithful friend of truth. If your own writings are 
distrusted, neither God nor Nature lie. And if you would have faith in God and Nature, have 
faith in the soul; thus you will believe yourself. Certainly you value the soul as giving you 
your true greatness, — that to which you belong; which is all things to you; without which 
you can neither live nor die; on whose account you even put God away from you. Since, 
then, you fear to become a Christian, call the soul before you, and put her to the question. 
Why does she worship another? why name the name of God? Why does she speak of demons, 
when she means to denote spirits to be held accursed? Why does she make her protestations 
towards the heavens, and pronounce her ordinary execrations earthwards? Why does she 
render service in one place, in another invoke the Avenger? Why does she pass judgments 
on the dead? What Christian phrases are those she has got, though Christians she neither 
desires to see nor hear? Why has she either bestowed them on us, or received them from 
us? Why has she either taught us them, or learned them as our scholar? Regard with suspicion 
this accordance in words, while there is such difference in practice. It is utter folly — denying 
a universal nature — to ascribe this exclusively to our language and the Greek, which are re- 
garded among us as so near akin. The soul is not a boon from heaven to Latins and Greeks 
alone. Man is the one name belonging to every nation upon earth: there is one soul and 
many tongues, one spirit and various sounds; every country has its own speech, but the 
subjects of speech are common to all. God is everywhere, and the goodness of God is 
everywhere; demons are everywhere, and the cursing of them is everywhere; the invocation 
of divine judgment is everywhere, death is everywhere, and the sense of death is everywhere, 
and all the world over is found the witness of the soul. There is not a soul of man that does 
not, from the light that is in itself, proclaim the very things we are not permitted to speak 
above our breath. Most justly, then, every soul is a culprit as well as a witness: in the measure 
that it testifies for truth, the guilt of error lies on it; and on the day of judgment it will stand 
before the courts of God, without a word to say. Thou proclaimedst God, O soul, but thou 
didst not seek to know Him: evil spirits were detested by thee, and yet they were the objects 
of thy adoration; the punishments of hell were foreseen by thee, but no care was taken to 
avoid them; thou hadst a savour of Christianity, and withal wert the persecutor of Christians. 


375 



Elucidations. 


Elucidations. 


I. 

(Recognition of the Supreme God, cap. ii., p. 176 J 

The passage referred to in the note, begins thus in Jowett’s rendering: “The Ruler of 
the Universe has ordered all things with a view to the preservation and perfection of the 
whole etc.” So, in the same book: “Surely God must not be supposed to have a nature which 
he himself hates.” Again: “Let us not, then, deem God inferior to human workmen, who in 
proportion to their skill finish and perfect their works... or that God, the wisest of beings, 
who is willing and able to extend his care to all things, etc.” Now, it is a sublime plan which 
our author here takes up, (making only slight reference to the innumerable citations which 
were behind his apostrophe to the soul if any one should dispute it) to bid the soul stand 
forth and confess its consciousness of God. 


II. 

(Daemons, cap. vi. p. 176.) 

Those who would pursue the subject of Demonology, which Tertullian opens in this 
admirable treatise, should follow it up in a writer whom Tertullian greatly influenced, in 
many particulars, even when he presents a remarkable contrast. The Ninth Book of the City 
of God is devoted to inquiries which throw considerable light on some of the startling sayings 
of our author as to the heathen systems, and their testimony to the Soul’s Consciousness of 
God and of the great enemy of God and the inferior spirit of Evil. 


376 



A Treatise on the Soul. 


IX. 

A Treatise on the Soul . 1489 

[Translated by Peter Holmes, D.D.] 


Chapter I. — It is Not to the Philosophers that We Resort for Information About the 
Soul But to God . 1490 

Having discussed with Hermogenes the single point of the origin of the soul, so far as 
his assumption led me, that the soul consisted rather in an adaptation 1491 of matter than 
of the inspiration 1492 of God, I now turn to the other questions incidental to the subject; 
and (in my treatment of these) I shall evidently have mostly to contend with the philosophers. 
In the very prison of Socrates they skirmished about the state of the soul. I have my doubts 
at once whether the time was an opportune one for their (great) master — (to say nothing 
of the place), although that perhaps does not much matter. For what could the soul of Socrates 
then contemplate with clearness and serenity? The sacred ship had returned (from Delos), 
the hemlock draft to which he had been condemned had been drunk, death was now present 
before him: (his mind) was , 1493 as one may suppose , 1494 naturally excited 1495 at every 

1489 [It is not safe to date this treatise before a.d. 203, and perhaps it would be unsafe to assign a later date. 
The note of the translator, which follows, relieves me from any necessity to add more, just here.] 

1490 In this treatise we have Tertullian’s speculations on the origin, the nature, and the destiny of the human 
soul. There are, no doubt, paradoxes startling to a modern reader to be found in it, such as that of the soul’s 
corporeity; and there are weak and inconclusive arguments. But after all such drawbacks (and they are not more 
than what constandy occur in the most renowned speculative writers of antiquity) , the reader will discover many 
interesting proofs of our author’s character for originality of thought, width of information, firm grasp of his 
subject, and vivacious treatment of it, such as we have discovered in other parts of his writings. If his subject 
permits Tertullian less than usual of an appeal to his favourite Holy Scripture, he still makes room for occasional 
illustration from it, and with his characteristic ability; if, however, there is less of his sacred learning in it, the 
treatise teems with curious information drawn from the secular literature of that early age. Our author often 
measures swords with Plato in his discussions on the soul, and it is not too much to say that he shows himself 
a formidable opponent to the great philosopher. See Bp. Kaye, On Tertullian , pp. 199, 200. 

1491 Suggestu. [Kaye, pp. 60 and 541.] 

1492 Flatu “the breath.” 

1493 Utique. 

1494 Consternata. 

1495 Consternata. 


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It is Not to the Philosophers that We Resort for Information About the Soul. . . 


emotion; or if nature had lost her influence, it must have been deprived of all power of 
thought . 1496 Or let it have been as placid and tranquil so you please, inflexible, in spite of 
the claims of natural duty , 1497 at the tears of her who was so soon to be his widow, and at 
the sight of his thenceforward orphan children, yet his soul must have been moved even by 
its very efforts to suppress emotion; and his constancy itself must have been shaken, as he 
struggled against the disturbance of the excitement around him. Besides, what other thoughts 
could any man entertain who had been unjustly condemned to die, but such as should solace 
him for the injury done to him? Especially would this be the case with that glorious creature, 
the philosopher, to whom injurious treatment would not suggest a craving for consolation, 
but rather the feeling of resentment and indignation. Accordingly, after his sentence, when 
his wife came to him with her effeminate cry, O Socrates, you are unjustly condemned! he 
seemed already to find joy in answering, Would you then wish me justly condemned? It is 
therefore not to be wondered at, if even in his prison, from a desire to break the foul hands 
of Anytus and Melitus, he, in the face of death itself, asserts the immortality of the soul by 
a strong assumption such as was wanted to frustrate the wrong (they had inflicted upon 
him). So that all the wisdom of Socrates, at that moment, proceeded from the affectation of 
an assumed composure, rather than the firm conviction of ascertained truth. For by whom 
has truth ever been discovered without God? By whom has God ever been found without 
Christ? By whom has Christ ever been explored without the Holy Spirit? By whom has the 
Holy Spirit ever been attained without the mysterious gift of faith ? 1498 Socrates, as none 
can doubt, was actuated by a different spirit. For they say that a demon clave to him from 
his boyhood — the very worst teacher certainly, notwithstanding the high place assigned to 
it by poets and philosophers — even next to, (nay, along with) the gods themselves. The 
teachings of the power of Christ had not yet been given — (that power) which alone can 
confute this most pernicious influence of evil that has nothing good in it, but is rather the 
author of all error, and the seducer from all truth. Now if Socrates was pronounced the 
wisest of men by the oracle of the Pythian demon, which, you may be sure, neatly managed 
the business for his friend, of how much greater dignity and constancy is the assertion of 
the Christian wisdom, before the very breath of which the whole host of demons is scattered! 
This wisdom of the school of heaven frankly and without reserve denies the gods of this 
world, and shows no such inconsistency as to order a “cock to be sacrificed to TEscu- 
lapius :” 1499 no new gods and demons does it introduce, but expels the old ones; it corrupts 


1496 Externata. “Externatus = ektoc; cppevwv. Gloss. Philox. 

1497 Pietatis. 

1498 Fidei Sacramento. 

1499 The allusion is to the inconsistency of the philosopher, who condemned the gods of the vulgar, and died 
offering a gift to one of them. 


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It is Not to the Philosophers that We Resort for Information About the Soul. . . 


not youth, but instructs them in all goodness and moderation; and so it bears the unjust 
condemnation not of one city only, but of all the world, in the cause of that truth which incurs 
indeed the greater hatred in proportion to its fulness: so that it tastes death not out of a 
(poisoned) cup almost in the way of jollity; but it exhausts it in every kind of bitter cruelty, 
on gibbets and in holocausts . 1500 Meanwhile, in the still gloomier prison of the world 
amongst your Cebeses and Phaedos, in every investigation concerning (man’s) soul, it directs 
its inquiry according to the rules of God. At all events, you can show us no more powerful 
expounder of the soul than the Author thereof. From God you may learn about that which 
you hold of God; but from none else will you get this knowledge, if you get it not from God. 
For who is to reveal that which God has hidden? To that quarter must we resort in our in- 
quiries whence we are most safe even in deriving our ignorance. For it is really better for us 
not to know a thing, because He has not revealed it to us, than to know it according to man’s 
wisdom, because he has been bold enough to assume it. 


1500 Vivicomburio. 


379 



The Christian Has Sure and Simple Knowledge Concerning the Subject Before... 


Chapter II. — The Christian Has Sure and Simple Knowledge Concerning the Subject 
Before Us. 

Of course we shall not deny that philosophers have sometimes thought the same things 
as ourselves. The testimony of truth is the issue thereof. It sometimes happens even in a 
storm, when the boundaries of sky and sea are lost in confusion, that some harbour is 
stumbled on (by the labouring ship) by some happy chance; and sometimes in the very 
shades of night, through blind luck alone, one finds access to a spot, or egress from it. In 
nature, however, most conclusions are suggested, as it were, by that common intelligence 
wherewith God has been pleased to endow the soul of man. This intelligence has been caught 
up by philosophy, and, with the view of glorifying her own art, has been inflated (it is not 
to be wondered at that I use this language) with straining after that facility of language which 
is practised in the building up and pulling down of everything, and which has greater aptitude 
for persuading men by speaking than by teaching. She assigns to things their forms and 
conditions; sometimes makes them common and public, sometimes appropriates them to 
private use; on certainties she capriciously stamps the character of uncertainty; she appeals 
to precedents, as if all things are capable of being compared together; she describes all things 
by rule and definition, allotting diverse properties even to similar objects; she attributes 
nothing to the divine permission, but assumes as her principles the laws of nature. I could 
bear with her pretensions, if only she were herself true to nature, and would prove to me 
that she had a mastery over nature as being associated with its creation. She thought, no 
doubt, that she was deriving her mysteries from sacred sources, as men deem them, because 
in ancient times most authors were supposed to be (I will not say godlike, but) actually gods: 
as, for instance, the Egyptian Mercury , 1501 to whom Plato paid very great deference ; 1502 
and the Phrygian Silenus, to whom Midas lent his long ears, when the shepherds brought 
him to him; and Hermotimus, to whom the good people of Clazomenae built a temple after 
his death; and Orpheus; and Musaeus; and Pherecydes, the master of Pythagoras. But why 
need we care, since these philosophers have also made their attacks upon those writings 
which are condemned by us under the title of apocryphal , 1503 certain as we are that nothing 
ought to be received which does not agree with the true system of prophecy, which has 


1501 Mentioned below, c. xxxiii.; also Adv. Valent, c. xv. 

1502 See his Phcedrus, c. lix. (p. 274); also Augustin, De. Civ. Dei, viii. 11; Euseb. Prcep. Evang. ix. 3. 

1503 Or spurious-, not to be confounded with our so-called Apocrypha, which were in Tertullian’s days called 
Libri Ecdesiastici. 


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The Christian Has Sure and Simple Knowledge Concerning the Subject Before... 


arisen in this present age ; 1504 because we do not forget that there have been false prophets, 
and long previous to them fallen spirits, which have instructed the entire tone and aspect 
of the world with cunning knowledge of this ( philosophic ) cast? It is, indeed, not incredible 
that any man who is in quest of wisdom may have gone so far, as a matter of curiosity, as 
to consult the very prophets; (but be this as it may), if you take the philosophers, you would 
find in them more diversity than agreement, since even in their agreement their diversity 
is discoverable. Whatever things are true in their systems, and agreeable to prophetic wisdom, 
they either recommend as emanating from some other source, or else perversely apply 1505 
in some other sense. This process is attended with very great detriment to the truth, when 
they pretend that it is either helped by falsehood, or else that falsehood derives support from 
it. The following circumstance must needs have set ourselves and the philosophers by the 
ears, especially in this present matter, that they sometimes clothe sentiments which are 
common to both sides, in arguments which are peculiar to themselves, but contrary in some 
points to our rule and standard of faith; and at other times defend opinions which are espe- 
cially their own, with arguments which both sides acknowledge to be valid, and occasionally 
conformable to their system of belief. The truth has, at this rate, been well-nigh excluded 
by the philosophers, through the poisons with which they have infected it; and thus, if we 
regard both the modes of coalition which we have now mentioned, and which are equally 
hostile to the truth, we feel the urgent necessity of freeing, on the one hand, the sentiments 
held by us in common with them from the arguments of the philosophers, and of separating, 
on the other hand, the arguments which both parties employ from the opinions of the same 
philosophers. And this we may do by recalling all questions to God’s inspired stan